If there’s any specific factor that New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau prefers in his players, it is defensive proficiency. In the most recent draft class, the Knicks targeted players like Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride, both known for their defensive attributes but high ceiling regarding their scoring abilities.
Grimes was once ignorant of the benefits of playing high-level defense, but during his time with Houston, he learned the ways which caught the eye of Thibodeau. McBride, who played with West Virginia, has always been an aggressive player guarding the perimeter, utilizing his extraordinarily long wingspan and massive hands to help cut passing lanes and poke the ball free from handlers.
Despite McBride being a second-round selection, the Knicks are confident he will develop into a potential starter down the road. During Summer League play, McBride looked fantastic over 27.7 minutes per game. He averaged 15.2 points, shooting 53.2% from the field and 50% from three-point range, over 6.0 attempts per game. He also contributed 3.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds, including 1.3 steals, showcasing his quick hands.
While the Summer League offers players an opportunity to develop alongside NBA talent, it doesn’t mean they will be efficient during regular-season games.
Despite shooting incredibly, the sample size is too small to consider McBride anything but a reserve player in his rookie season. Nonetheless, the West Virginia product already understands what he needs to do to earn minutes and make an impact this year.
Knicks’ Miles McBride already knows the best way to make an impact, saying as much to The Spun in an interview:
Just be ready for anything. You know how quickly things can change in the NBA. I need to be ready to play in any role, whether that’s bringing the ball up the floor, making shots in the corner, or trying to take out the opposing team’s best player. I just need to be versatile.
Known for his toughness, McBride can offer immediate defense in specific scenarios. With Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker as the primary point guards, their defense can be a weakness at times with a focus on scoring and faciliating, which is where McBride can get on the floor and apply his talents. In addition, he’s an even better scorer than Frank Ntilikina, who the Knicks let go this off-season, signing a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
Given Rose and Walker essentially have two-year deals themselves, McBride will be developing his game over the next few seasons to prepare himself for the future. If he can increase his scoring proficiency and improve his defensive strengths, Thibodeau could entrust him with the starting gig down the line. His rookie season is a great opportunity to establish some strengths at the NBA level while developing his weaknesses as the regular season continues.