Despite using Sasha Vujacic more than Jerian Grant since becoming interim coach, Kurt Rambis said the Knicks believe in the rookie point guard.
“We’re all excited about Jerian,” Rambis said. “We think he does a terrific job in practice for us.”
Grant did a good job in Friday night’s 108-95 win over Orlando with five points, three assists and a steal in 16 minutes.
Grant didn’t play in three of Rambis’ first five games as interim coach after appearing in all but three of their previous 54 games under Derek Fisher. Rambis said he went with Vujacic because of his size and knowledge of the offense.
During games, Grant sits next to assistant coach Jim Cleamons, who’s giving him pointers on how to run the offense and defend.
“None of us in the organization are discouraged by anything that Jerian’s done,” Rambis said. “He’s been terrific for us. It’s just hard for him to break into that rotation.”
Rambis said there’s been an “ongoing conversation” about sending Grant to the D-League to develop and gain experience, but the Knicks want Grant working with them as much as possible. “But if he could get some time down there, that would be great for him,” Rambis said.
After replacing Fisher, Rambis said the only goal was making the playoffs. The Knicks are in a virtual tie for 12th with the Bucks, 6½ games out.
“I understand with each loss it gets mathematically more difficult to make that happen,” Rambis said. “You have to have this mindset as a player that ‘we’re going to win.’ . . . That’s a goal that you got to have to win every game, to make the playoffs.”