One sharpshooter out, and another one in. That's the scenario the Westchester Knicks may be facing with the loss of Jimmer Fredette and possible addition of Jerian Grant. Last Monday, Fredette signed a 10-day contract with the New York Knicks after averaging nearly 22 points per game in 30 games in Westchester. In New York, he joins rookie guard Jerian Grant on the Knick's bench.
Grant has struggled to prove himself in the NBA this year, averaging just 4.8 points and 2.5 assists per game. Since Kurt Rambis took over as Knicks interim head coach in early February, Grant is playing only 7.3 minutes per game. Rambis said he was "excited" about Jerian Grant, but has consistently gone with Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic over the rookie at point guard. With less playing time, Rambis mentioned there are "ongoing conversations" about giving Grant an opportunity to play more in the D-League with the Westchester Knicks.
To Grant's credit, he seems to be embracing a possible move to the D-League. "Obviously you want to be in a game in the NBA, but if I can go down there and get a lot of minutes and get back in a rhythm, I think it would be OK" Grant told the New York Post.
Westchester is currently in a dog fight for the top spot in the D-League's Eastern Conference. The Knicks trail the Maine Red Claws by just a half game, the closest conference in the league. Since Fredette's departure, Westchester is 2-0 and Travis Trice has provided more than enough fire power after moving from the point to shooting guard spot. For Grant, a trip to Westchester has incredible utility. He can play in the exact type of environment he has in New York, just with lower stakes. The D-League Knicks, like the New York Knicks, have scorers in Trice, Jordan Bachynski, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Grant can work to facilitate and distribute like he will have to with Carmelo Anthony on the court.
Unfortunately, young NBA players assigned to the D-League often put up high scoring numbers and absurd shot attempts as a way to showcase what the NBA already knows they can do. However, the real value in a D-League assignment lies in the development of other, less flashy skills. For Grant, time in Westchester will give him a chance to play in a D-League sandbox while working on the exact point guard skills he needs for a return to the NBA.