Knicks Summer-League Standouts to Watch During Training Camp

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2021

Knicks Summer-League Standouts to Watch During Training Camp

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    The summer-league storylines were longer than you might think for the New York Knicks, considering they had just captured the No. 4 seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference.

    But with a deep collection of first- and second-year players who could be rotation members as soon as the upcoming season, there were plenty of pivotal progress reports.

    The Knicks surely had high hopes for Immanuel Quickley, and the sophomore guard mostly delivered. He could have been more efficient—as could many summer leaguers—but he left little doubt he'll again be part of the backcourt rotation after averaging 20.2 points and 7.8 assists.

    The following three hoopers have less clear roles for 2021-22, though, so they might deserve more attention when the Knicks head to training camp.

Quentin Grimes

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    The Knicks entered the draft with a pair of first-round picks, Nos. 19 and 21. They traded both and wound up making just one first-round selection, getting Quentin Grimes at No. 25.

    His first summer session was never going to determine the value of that pick, but the early returns were promising. He took a bit to get going on offense, but once he had it rolling, he looked like one of the top point-producers in Las Vegas. In his final two contests, he totaled 54 points and buried a dozen shots from distance.

    His defense was preset throughout his desert stay, which could endear him to head coach Tom Thibodeau. Grimes was relentless on the ball and looked comfortable switching between the 1, 2 and 3 spots.

    If the 21-year-old maintains his hot shooting touch at training camp, he might carve out a sizable rotation role on the perimeter.

Miles McBride

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    Miles McBride looked like a steal on draft night after the Knicks nabbed him with the 36th overall pick.

    Summer league only strengthened that take.

    Stardom may never be in McBride's future, but he could become a star role player.

    The 21-year-old makes a ton of smart plays and just generally makes players better around him. He takes smart chances and usually maximizes his opportunities. In Vegas, he paired his 15.2 points per game with a pristine 53.2/50.0/87.5 shooting slash, plus he dished 3.5 assists and came up with 1.3 steals.

    Add lockdown defense to the equation, and McBride has a chance to force his way into a crowded backcourt group.

Obi Toppin

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    Last year's No. 8 pick, Obi Toppin, had some rough moments as a rookie. But it's worth noting he had a tough situation, too, since he wound up buried behind All-Star Julius Randle and a strong group of Knicks centers.

    Hopefully, Toppin's summer-league showing laid the foundation for a better season ahead.

    His 21.0 points per game were the best on the 'Bockers and seventh-highest among all Las Vegas hoopers. He also grabbed 8.3 rebounds and assembled a solid 44.5/34.3/88.9 shooting slash. All told, the 23-year-old did enough to snag a spot on the All-Summer League first team.

    Toppin will need to keep this momentum going at training camp, though, because New York's frontcourt remains crowded. He has zero chance of supplanting Randle in the starting lineup, but he must do something to demand more than the 11 minutes per game he was given last season.