What can be expected from Knicks’ second unit in 2022-23?

Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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During the 2020-21 season, the bench was a major point of strength for the New York Knicks in their push towards a playoff berth. Last season, we expected the bench to once again be reliable, but that unfortunately was not the case. And now, as we approach the 2022-23 NBA campaign, the hope is for the Knicks’ second unit to be successful in making the team competitive.

About a year ago, I wrote an article comparing the Knicks’ bench to others around the league and I argued that New York once again had the personnel necessary to be one of the best second units in basketball. That group of players was meant to consist of Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, and Nerlens Noel with brief appearances from Kevin Knox and Taj Gibson. However, a combination of injuries, poor play, and questionable rotation decisions led to not just a lackluster bench, but overall bad results for New York.

Do familiar faces mean familiar rotational habits for Thibodeau and the Knicks?

Most of the Knicks’ backups this season are returning players. Gone are Burks, Noel, Knox, and Gibson. Quickley, Toppin, and Rose are back along with Quentin Grimes, who looks to have a consistent rotation spot this year after only really playing when injuries struck last season. Cam Reddish, who played in just 15 games for New York in the closing weeks of the 2021-22 campaign, will also be battling for a game-to-game role. Lastly, one of the newest Knicks, Isaiah Hartenstein, is here to check into games at center when Mitchell Robinson needs a breather.

So, how will these bench pieces fit into Tom Thibodeau’s puzzle? What can we expect to see from these bench players and how big will their roles be? Let’s start with the elephant, err, elephants in the room.

By my count there are three of them:

A). The Fournier/Grimes starting shooting guard situation [which kind of bleeds into…]

B). The Cam Reddish situation

C). The Obi Toppin situation