Just days before the New York Knicks selected West Virginia point guard Miles McBride with the 36th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, head coach Tom Thibodeau fell in love with his defensive production. With players like Sharife Cooper still available, the Knicks decided to go with McBride, who offers an immediate impact off the ball.
The West Virginia product averaged 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and shot 43% from the field last season. From three, he averaged 41% over 3.8 attempts per game. However, one of his most underrated statistics was his steal rate, earning 1.9 per game, indicating sleight of hand.
McBride enters the NBA with the biggest hands in the draft class among guards, and he is the perfect youngster to develop behind an established veteran.
After the draft, McBride detailed his strengths entering the NBA, which attests to Tom Thibodeau’s interest prior to his selection:
“I definitely think my defense is going to get me (on the court) the fastest.”
McBride also stated in front of a crowd full of fans regarding teams passing on him until the second round, “Everybody’s going to pay for that; I promise you.”
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 30, 2021
If the Knicks are looking to shape McBride into a long-term solution, one point guard stands out as a perfect mentor for the 20-year-old.
Veteran Derrick Rose, who is coming off a fantastic season with the Knicks, is currently a free agent but desires to stay in New York. At 32 years old, Rose averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 assists, and shot a career-high 41% from range last season. He was a primary reason the Knicks made the postseason and secured the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. If there’s any description of a perfect mentor, Rose fits the bill perfectly.
However, recent reports have indicated that the Chicago Bulls are interested in potentially reconnecting with Rose, but the Knicks might be smart to bring him back on a one-year contract if he’s willing to settle (a two-year deal would also be more than fine if they front-load the contract). This would allow them to clear cap space for next season in search of a superstar while developing young talent at the same time. Rose served as a prominent mentor for Immanuel Quickley last season, who saw his floater develop exponentially as the 2020-21 campaign progressed.
“He just stressed to me — first of all he gave me his number — said anything I need just hit him,” Quickley said of Rose last season, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “But he sat down with me a little bit, me and Obi actually, just told us he’s here to help us, he’s here to help us grow and things like that. It’s good to get a chance to talk to him a little bit last night.”
“Deuce,” a nickname McBride earned during his days as a high school quarterback in Cincinnati, is not shying away from a challenge this upcoming season. The question surrounding the former quarterback is simply, can he be a quality play-maker? We know he brings defensive efficiency on day one and high-intensity play, but can he contribute as a facilitator and shot maker?
These are all questions that will be answered, but finding him a partner who can expand upon his talents is the priority. Rose simply feels like the most natural fit.