Since RJ Barrett returned from a lacerated right index finger, New York Knicks sophomore guard Miles McBride’s playing time has shrunk.
Over his last four games, McBride hasn’t breached the double-digit playing time. Before that, McBride has only had one single-digit playing time — a scoreless six-minute outing against Philadelphia on Christmas Day — in an 18-game stretch or since Tom Thibodeau made him the ninth man of his shortened rotation.
While McBride’s 111.9 defensive rating ranks sixth in the team, his offense leaves much to be desired. His 33 percent field goal percentage is the worst among all Knicks’ rotation guards. Zooming out, McBride’s 44.8 true shooting percentage is ranked 453rd among 473 players who have played more than 10 minutes, per NBA.com’s advanced stats.
McBride’s offense or lack thereof is part of a bigger problem for the Knicks, who are playing with a shallow bench after entering the season with so much depth. Their second unit has struggled to find consistent offense outside of Immanuel Quickley forcing Thibodeau to play his first six with heavy minutes.
The Knicks’ first six (including Quickley) have been playing above 30 minutes since Thibodeau shortened his rotation after their Dec. 3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at home. Before Barrett’s injury, only four players (Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes) have averaged more than 30 minutes of playing time.
Quickley and Mitchell Robinson were added to that group during Barrett’s and, in part, Obi Toppin’s absence.
But despite McBride’s woeful offense and the recent dip in playing time, Thibodeau was adamant that he’s a huge part of their second unit.
“The thing right now is getting the second group into rhythm again. So, the big thing was RJ’s a big part of that. He was out for an extended period, as was Obi, so now they’re coming back and now we gotta get the rhythm of that group going again. And I thought they gave us some good minutes. And Deuce (McBride) is a big part of that, as well.”Tom Thibodeau postgame via MSG Network
That last line was immediately followed by a report from The Athletic that McBride is off the limits with less than a month to go before the trade deadline.
“…front offices in contact with the Knicks say that New York has expressed it does not want to move the 22-year old (McBride). The Knicks are high on his defensive ability, energy and work ethic.”Fred Katz of The Athletic
To be fair to McBride, it’s hard to find rhythm in short spurts and just attempting 4.4 shots.
McBride capped his two-year stint at West Virginia before entering the NBA with a 41.4 three-point shooting percentage on 3.8 attempts. He was a firecracker in the G League and hit clutch 3s during their 112-108 win against the Raptors last Jan. 6. So there’s a decent shooter in McBride. But his shot has to become consistent if the Knicks will not upgrade their bench at the trade deadline. Or else, he becomes unplayable in the playoffs if the Knicks advance.
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