After playing in just 4 of the 7 contests coached by Kurt Rambis, the New York Knicks need to go all-in with rookie Jerian Grant.
By Jeremy Fialkow
In the wake of New York Knicks‘ head coach Kurt Rambis’s declaration this past week that first-round pick Jerian Grant may need to spend time in the D-League to earn time in the NBA, the young guard has seen a little more action, but not enough.
Rambis added that Jerian Grant, the 19th pick of the 2015 draft, will learn from watching.
This sentiment is baffling, considering his minutes are still going to Sasha Vujacic who is still shooting 31% from the field and 28% from 3-point range.
But, that’s beside the point.
At this juncture in the NBA season the Knicks (25-36) sit in 12th place of the Eastern Conference. So, yes, the season is lost.
Rambis says #Knicks are still very high on Grant but wants him to learn while watching. Suggested D-League stint may be good for him.
— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) February 26, 2016
With that, it’s time to go all-in for the future. Whether that means trading Carmelo Anthony in the offseason or going all out for a marquee free-agent remains to be seen.
In the short term, though, Rambis must live-and-die (…mostly die) with the youth of this team. That means Grant and Porzingis, who – in the short time they’ve played together – have created a nice rapport. In fact, Porzingis’ field-goal percentage benefits greatest from Jerian Grant feeds, evidenced by this graphic:
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) February 27, 2016
Even when Jerian is shown the light-of-day on the court, and impresses in that time, Rambis puts him right back in the doghouse. Last night against the Heat, Grant showed great poise in running the offense for healthy stretches of the first half, only to sit the entire second act until the final minute, with the game already well out of reach.
That’s exactly what Jerian Grant brings to the table that 34-year-old Jose Calderon doesn’t offer. Grant can create offense – mainly in transition – with great defense…something rarely seen with this Knicks team.
He is elusive and quick. He’s a ball of energy ready to strike at any moment. Here’s an example of Grant’s worth: Earning 15 minutes per game (when he isn’t DNP-CD), Jerian Grant has shot 87 free-throws this season. In the 30 minutes per game played by Jose Calderon – who’s been the starting point guard all season long – he’s shot just 39 free-throws.
Again: Jose just shot his 39th free throw of the season. He has started almost every game. He is our point guard. That is not a typo.
— Knicks Dude (@knicksdude) February 27, 2016
In the end, the dilemma comes down to whether Phil Jackson and Knicks’ management are ready to buy into the future of this team. Of course, it’s Rambis’ job to afford Grant the playing time he needs.
Grant represents a certain feeling that’s been nearly inconceivable for Knicks’ fans: hope. He, along with Kristaps Porzingis, is something to look forward to for New York and he needs to be treated like the promising young guard he is.