Energy, effort, intensity. Those are three factors that rookie point guard Miles McBride brought to the New York Knicks on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets. After spending the majority of the season working with the G-League team in Westchester, McBride was suddenly elevated to a prominent role with Covid ravaging the Knicks’ lineup.
Losing RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Quentin Grimes, and Obi Toppin this past week, McBride found himself suddenly playing 20+ minutes in back-to-back games, showcasing fantastic scoring capabilities and defensive energy.
One thing the Knicks have lacked severely this season is effort, as the starting team has echoed one another with an emphasis on being out-hustled and outpaced.
However, Tom Thibodeau found his team running the floor effectively and with unmatched energy after the installation of McBride and the presence of Immanuel Quickley. Quickley has since been placed on the Covid list for the next 10 days at least, despite his best efforts to evade the virus.
McBride has been ready to take on a bigger role this entire season, averaging over 25 points with Westchester. He simply wants to have an impact, and he did just that with 15 points and nine assists against Houston.
â€œEvery time I step on the court I just want to impact winning,â€™â€™ McBride said before Thursday’s win over Houston. â€œThat means on the defensive end Iâ€™m always going to bring it. Offensively Iâ€™m just going to read what the game gives me.â€
Watching McBride play, you can see his poise and comfort on the floor. He doesnâ€™t overthink, and he rarely makes mistakes, providing efficiency beyond what the Knicks have experienced this season at the point guard position.
â€œHe played a great game,â€™â€™ Knicks veteran Taj Gibson said. â€œHe was real patient, he does everything he needs to do early in the mornings, the early group, heâ€™s a student of the game.â€™â€™
With Kemba Walker still riding the bench after being exiled from the team due to defensive deficiencies, McBride seems to be in line for a massive increase in playing time. If he continues to dominate, Thibodeau will have no choice but to continue relying on him as a primary player.
â€œYou look at his development and heâ€™s a strong two-way player,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said. â€œHe plays with great energy on both sides of the ball. He plays multiple positions. Heâ€™s unselfish. He sprays it out. If you sag off him, heâ€™s going to shoot. He can make it and can finish. And heâ€™s a great worker.â€™â€™