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2021 Buzzworthy Picks: Quentin Grimes

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You can never have enough wing depth, and the junior out of Houston could be an excellent 3&D target if he falls far enough.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oregon State at Houston Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets wing depth was stretched to its limits during the 2020-2021 season, and that was a big reason for the late season struggles. Gordon Hayward is due to soak up most of the wing minutes, but he’s by no means a sure bet to stay healthy. Malik Monk seems likely to depart in free agency, leaving Jalen McDaniels and Cody Martin as the next two candidates to soak up wing minutes when the Hornets aren’t using their guards to fill that spot.

Martin and McDaniels have been able to put out some decent minutes as wing depth at times, and the Hornets may want to go to that second round well once again to see if they can land an even better find for that wing spot. One target for that is Quentin Grimes out of Houston if he were to fall to the back half of the second round.

ESPN currently has Grimes mocked around the turn of the first round and the second round, but every year guys projected to go in that range fall, and that’s where the Hornets can capitalize.

Upside

Grimes measured out with ideal wing size at the combine, standing at 6’4” without shoes with a 6’8” wingspan and 8’5” standing reach. He should be able to comfortably play either wing spot and guard positions 1 through 3 on the defensive end.

Grimes’ main offensive NBA skill is his outside shot. Over his three year career at Houston, he built himself into a knockdown shooter after being a little inconsistent in that regard early on. As a junior, Grimes connected on 40.3% of his 3-point attempts while attempting over eight a game. His release his compact and repeatable and shouldn’t be affected by the increases in distance to the NBA line and speed of the game. He’s probably not going to be a dynamic shot creator in one on one situations, but he’s got some potential to hit some jumpers off the dribble.

But the most appealing aspect of Grimes’ game is his defense. He was a key piece in one of the best defenses in college basketball, and his advanced defensive metrics are very strong. He has quick, active feet and does a very good job cutting off driving angles. He has a knack for timing closeouts against pull-up shooters, making it very difficult for them to get good looks off step backs and other dribble moves. His length makes him tough to shoot over and allows him to contest shots at the rim even if he gives up a step to the ball handler. He should be able to guard one to three comfortably on defense, and the Hornets highly value that kind of versatility.

He didn’t show it much at Houston, but Grimes showed some ball handling and facilitating potential at the combine scrimmages while also shooting 9-of-16 from deep across two games.

Downside

While he did show some flashes of creativity at the combine, the broader sample of his time at Houston is lacking in that regard. His assist numbers were pretty low for a wing player with his usage. He doesn’t have much of a bag in isolation situations, and it’s quickly noticeable that he tries to play too fast when trying to create off the dribble.

Along with the lack of ball handling creativity, Grimes isn’t a particularly adept finisher around the basket. He shot just 41.0% on 2-point attempts as a junior. A big part of that low percentage is his inability to get to the rim, forcing him to settle for tough jumpers and awkward floaters. He only got to the line 3.8 times per game, which is a further indictment on his ball handling and ability to get to the rim.

Summary

Grimes’ lack of creation ability both for himself and for others puts a significant cap on his upside, but it shouldn’t make too much of a difference if he’s put in a role where he’s expected to work his butt off on defense and hit open jumpers on offense. The Hornets have a lot of creativity on offense already, so if they were to land Grimes, he should be able to seamlessly slide into a bench role on the wing.