Knicks may have something special in rookie point guard

Alexander Wilson

The New York Knicks may be on a four-game losing streak, but they have plenty of things to be optimistic about. Whether it be the 27-point performance from Quentin Grimes against the Toronto Raptors or Miles McBride bleeding confidence on the floor against Golden State, the Knicks have a few spark plugs.

Grimes was projected to take a more prominent role before being ruled out due to Covid health and safety protocols. The Houston product showcased aggressive defense with superb shooting from range, setting a Knicks rookie record with seven three-point shots made.

However, in McBride‘s first legitimate action of the season, he proved he could stand on his own 2 feet without much support. An electrifying step-back jumper from three-point range in the first half stood out as his highlight of the evening, contributing eight points and four rebounds. He hit 50% of his shots from deep and connected on 37.5% from the field.

McBride has been working diligently off the court to prepare for this moment, dominating in G-League performances to prove his value.

“We see it in practice, when he’s had opportunities in the G-League, he’s played really well there as well,’’ Thibodeau stated after the loss to Golden State. “He played well in the summer league. It’s good for him to have an opportunity like that. All the things that he’s working on every day and then to get into a game situation and to see it unfold, it’s good, it’s positive. Our young guys are really hard playing and they’re coming along.’’

Even veteran point guard Derrick Rose spoke to the confidence of McBride and how great he looked against Golden State, stating, “hopefully Thibs gives him the time.”

During G-League play, McBride is averaging 26.8 points per game on 40.5% shooting from three and 48.2% from the field. His 57.1% effective field goal percentage is fantastic, and he’s  73.2% of his attempts unassisted, indicating play-making ability.

The West Virginia standout primarily focuses on shots from less than 5 feet (22 of 85 attempts) in accordance to the rim and between the 25–29 foot range (28 of 85 attempts). While he doesn’t have much of a pull-up jumper game or mid-range, he’s highly efficient from beyond the arc and close to the basket.

Against legitimate NBA talent, those numbers will undoubtedly level out, but seeing his sustainable success in the G-League is motivating for his future. In addition to his scoring proficiency, McBride is also a stellar defender with a sleight of hand attribute. He is incredibly quick to intercept passes, notably having the biggest hands of any guard in the most recent draft class.

Given the team continues to deal with Covid related absences, McBride is deserving of another opportunity to showcase his skill set. Against a struggling Houston Rockets team, Thibodeau should provide him with added minutes.