Miles ‘Deuce’ McBride Is the Shot in the Arm the New York Knicks Desperately Needed

For the 13-16 New York Knicks, things are far from great. After securing the four-seed in the Eastern Conference last season, the Knicks currently sit outside of the playoff picture. But with Christmas fast approaching, New York has received an early gift in the form of rookie guard Miles McBride, aka “Deuce.”

The New York Knicks landed Miles McBride in the second round

Unlike many of their previous seasons, the Knicks were outside the NBA Draft lottery in 2021. So rather than simply grabbing a highly-coveted prospect, they needed to do their due diligence in landing young talent. In total, New York walked away with four draft picks including three in the second round, one of which was McBride.

McBride, a 6-foot-2 guard from Cincinnati, Ohio, played at West Virginia for two seasons. He spent his freshman year averaging 22.2 minutes off of the bench, scoring 9.5 points but securing 1.1 steals per game. After his Big 12 All-Freshman season, “Deuce” entered the starting lineup for the nationally-ranked Mountaineers. He would go on to lead the team with 15.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 1.9 steals. The 6-2 standout also shot a team-best 41.4% from beyond the arc, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors.

While McBride was a solid offensive prospect, his calling card was defense. One such example stems from last season’s Big 12 Tournament after the scrappy guard held Oklahoma State star and future number-one pick Cade Cunningham to 6-of-15 shooting with six turnovers.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer described McBride as a “gritty player with a winning mentality and an insatiable appetite for getting stops on defense.” He also ranked the sophomore as the 30th player on his big board, six spots ahead of his official landing spot.

McBride is cashing in on his opportunities

Ever since McBride heard his name called on draft day, he has performed exceptionally well. Even if most of his chances to shine came in games without much meaning.

McBride, who sports the number two to match his childhood nickname “Deuce”, averaged 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game in New York’s Summer League contests. He managed to crack the Knicks’ opening night roster, even if it meant sitting on the bench for the entirety of the game.

With no more than a couple of garbage time minutes here and there, McBride was eventually sent to the G League in order to get some on-court experience. In four games with the Westchester Knicks, Deuce averaged 26.8 points on 48.2% shooting with 9.5 assists and 6.0 rebounds.

Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors, McBride finally saw real NBA action. The tenacious guard scored eight points with a pair of threes in a little over 20 minutes. Then on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, with Derrick Rose suffering an ankle injury and Kemba Walker on permanent hiatus from the rotation, the rookie finished with 15 points, nine assists, and four steals in just under 36 minutes.

“Every time I step on the court, I just want to impact winning,” McBride told the media after leading the Knicks to a 116-103 over the Rockets. “That means on the defensive end I’m always going to bring it and offensively I’m going to read what the game gives me.”

Deuce McBride is just what the Knicks needed

After starting the season with a 5-1 record, New York has gone a dismal 8-15. A big reason why stems from a defense that has taken a dramatic step backward after ranking as one of the league’s top units in 2020-21. McBride can certainly help with that.

The 21-year-old is a defense-first player, a dream for a defense-oriented coach in Tom Thibodeau. As New York aims to improve its 22nd-ranked defensive rating, McBride could be one meaningful solution. And his playing time should be there if Rose’s injury is serious and Walker remains glued to the bench.

“You look at [McBride’s] development and he’s a strong two-way player,’’ Thibodeau told the New York Post after the game. “He plays with great energy on both sides of the ball. He plays multiple positions. He’s unselfish. He sprays it out. If you sag off him, he’s going to shoot. He can make it and can finish. And he’s a great worker.’’

It might have taken a couple of months before earning a real shot in the NBA. But don’t be surprised if Miles McBride plays a big role in New York’s season moving forward.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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