Knicks: A Kyle Lowry free agent acquisition could pay dividends for Miles McBride

kyle lowry, knicks

Finding a solid veteran point guard will be a priority for the New York Knicks in August as they scour the free-agent market. With several options available, one who stands out is former Toronto Raptors PG Kyle Lowry.

While Lowry may not be a perfect fit with the Knicks, he closely resembles the 36th overall selection Miles McBride out of West Virginia. McBride has been compared to Lowry in the past, playing fearless defense but also elevating his team as a scoring option too.

“I definitely honored to have my playing style compared to Kyle Lowry,’’ McBride said on a Zoom call Friday, via Marc Berman of The Post. “I know he’s led the league in charges and I’m willing to do anything to win. That’s something I certainly can get behind.”

McBride is known as a tough player, featuring as a former high school quarterback and leader on the basketball court. Tom Thibodeau loved what he saw from McBride during the pre-draft process, as just several days before, he keyed in on him as a perfect fit to develop.

Last season with West Virginia, the 6’2″, 200-pound guard averaged 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and shot 43% from the field. He also connected on 41.4% of his shots from three over 3.8 attempts per game. By all standards, McBride offers plenty of value as a defensive player first and foremost but also has tons of offensive potential that could be unlocked by good coaching and a solid veteran mentor above him.

Should the Knicks consider Lowry?

Lowry could fit that bill perfectly, coming off a solid season averaging 17.2 points, 7.3 assessed, and shooting 43.6% from the field. He’s also a quality three-point shooter, hitting on 40% of his shots over 7.2 attempts per game. Learning from a player like Lowry would undoubtedly elevate McBride and his skill set, especially since he’s been compared to him in the past.

However, Lowry’s coming off what most would consider a down year, playing in just 46 games. At 35 years old, Lowry just finished a one-year, $30.5 million contract and could sign in that price range.

If the Toronto Star is looking for a one-year contract, the Knicks should consider jumping on it, as it would give them the ability to clear space next off-season in 2022 to target a younger long-term solution or star like Bradley Beal. As far as we know, having Lowry ahead of McBride might even help him become a starting player down the line, and opening up more cap space next season would be ideal.

Nonetheless, if the Knicks elect to go that direction, signing Lowry to help develop McBride while also having a solid defensive player and offensive threat at point guard would be a win-win situation.

What do you think about the idea of signing Kyle Lowry? Comment below!

Report: Knicks are eyeing 3 guards as potential free agent targets

talen horton-tucker, knicks

Having added multiple guards in the 2021 NBA draft, the New York Knicks are trying to establish a base of potential starters for the upcoming season. Landing Quentin Grimes out of Houston provides a solid 3-and-D player who can make an impact immediately, but guaranteeing him a starting spot might be overzealous.

With $50+ million in free agency to spend, the Knicks will be active this August, signing new players and adding talent to a roster that is preparing to lose several impact players.

The team is targeting shooting guards and point guards, being connected to three different players who could contribute.

“The Knicks are mentioned by league sources as a team that has expressed interest in [Evan] Fournier, while New York has also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker,” according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Taking a look at the three targets listed for the Knicks:

1.) Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier is coming off a season where he featured on the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. He’s able to play small forward and shooting guard, similar to Reggie Bullock, in case the Knicks lose him to free agency. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have an interest in Bullock’s services. Fournier, alternatively, averaged 17.1 points, 3.4 assists, and shot 46% from the field this past season. From three, he connected on 41% of his shots over 6.7 attempts, a solid clip that would provide plenty of value to a Knicks team that is focusing on three-point shooting.

His versatility to play multiple spots at guard and forward is a major positive, but depending on the former first-round picks asking price, it could be more affordable to retain Bullock instead. Fournier is coming off a five-year, $85 million deal, earning $17 million per season. He could earn a similar amount over the next few years, which is a major pay increase compared to what Bullock was earning last season.

2.) Dennis Schroder

One point guard, the Knicks, could be interested in is Dennis Schroder. The German could find his way back to the Lakers, but his asking price is quite high. Apparently, he is seeking a $100 million contract in free agency, based on his production, that number is quite lofty. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 assists and shot 43% from the field last year. His lackluster 33% from range doesn’t exactly scream efficiency and scoring production, and having elite players like Anthony Davis and LeBron James can mask deficiencies. In addition, the team just traded for Russell Westbrook, so Schroder is as good as gone.

If I’m the Knicks’ front office, I’m staying away from Schroder and his ridiculous asking price, as there are better options on the market.

3.) Talen Horton-Tucker

Another player who has been connected is Talen Horton-Tucker, who is preparing to turn 21 years old entering his third season of the NBA. Playing in 65 games last year, he averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 assists, and shot 46% from the field. As a primary shooting guard, he is solid driving to the basket and plays good defense, which is exactly what Tom Thibodeau is was looking for.

Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent, so the Lakers have the final say in extending him a qualifying offer or letting an alternative club present an offer sheet. Unless the Knicks are willing to provide a sufficient deal, the Lakers can easily extend him on his qualifying offer. In that scenario, he would earn $1.8 million, a price point the Knicks can overcome. With the right coaching and scenario, Horton-Tucker could see his perimeter shooting improve, which is his primary weakness entering year three in the NBA.

Knicks’ Miles McBride compared to 7-time All-Star for his style of play

miles mcbride, knicks

With the longest wingspan out of any point guard in the NBA draft at 6’8″, New York Knicks‘ 36th overall selection Miles McBride is preparing to take his talents to the next level. Having slipped to the second round, McBride promised to make every team that passed on him regret the decision, but he found himself in a perfect landing spot after featuring on a tough West Virginia team.

As a former quarterback and leader, McBride has all the tangible and intangible traits to make an impact in his rookie season. However, the Knicks would be wise to bring in a veteran point guard for McBride to learn from and develop behind.

McBride has been compared to one fantastic veteran, though, and coincidentally, he’s also a free agent.

“I definitely honored to have my playing style compared to Kyle Lowry,’’ McBride said on a Zoom call Friday, via Marc Berman of The Post. “I know he’s led the league in charges and I’m willing to do anything to win. That’s something I certainly can get behind.”

Lowry has been connected to several teams this off-season, including the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and New Orleans Pelicans. The Knicks could enter the fold, as he could provide McBride a perfect opportunity to learn behind a seven-time All-Star.

McBride has the mentality to quickly make an impact at the next level, specifically with his defense, averaging 1.9 steals per game last season. With the biggest hands in the draft class among guards, his ability to poke the ball free and cut passing lanes is unique. That is primarily while Tom Thibodeau valued him just days before the draft commenced.

“I feel like I have a winning DNA throughout high school, college,’’ said McBride, who was a high-school quarterback in Cincinnati. “That’s the main thing I want to bring to the Knicks. Winning and continue to go upwards. I feel like doing all that winning, a lot of teams will regret not taking me.

Thibodeau’s style of play and disciplinary guidelines fit McBride’s character perfectly. Having played under Bob Huggins with West Virginia, McBride knows exactly what to expect from Thibs. Working hard every day to improve your talents and playing a team game is exactly comes to mind, but an obvious focus on defense will be present.

“I’ve heard from everyone I met, if you can play for Huggins you can play for anybody,’’ McBride said. “I’ve heard Thibs is hard-nosed coach. That’s how I want it to be at this level as well.

If McBride can mirror Lowry’s qualities at the next level, he could end up being a very solid long-term solution at point guard. Last season he averaged 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and shot an impressive 41% from range over 3.8 attempts per game.

Knicks: The perfect veteran point guard to help develop Miles McBride

new york knicks, derrick rose

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.”

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.

Knicks’ draft picks Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride have one major similarity

miles mcbride, knicks

There are two skills you can never have enough of an NBA roster, and those are shooting and defending. The New York Knicks are looking to improve in both categories, as head coach Tom Thibodeau focused in on two specific athletes, Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes.

Both have one major similarities, defensive production and efficiency. Both played physical and high intensity basketball last season at the college level, and defense is one of the more translatable traits.

McBride has elite sleight of hand, averaging 1.9 steals per game last season and showcasing an ability to poke the ball free from handlers. He’s an extremely savvy defender with superior athleticism, but he’s also one of the toughest players in the draft.

“I see people ahead of him that I know he’s better than,’’ West Virginia assistant coach Erik Martin told The Post. “Some of those guys he’s outplayed when we played them. He’s 6-2, a former football player and a winner. He has toughness. He came in the door with that. Hopefully where he gets drafted is somewhere where he’d play.’’

McBride is not only a defensive talent, he also shot an impressive 41% from three-point last season, averaging 15.9 points per game. Developing him behind an established veteran will give him plenty of time to adapt and refine his talents, hopefully growing into a long-term solution.

McBride is a point guard, though, while Grimes features as a shooting guard who feels he can do far more than the perception of him during the draft indicated.

Quentin Grimes detailed his approach to the NBA and the perception of him ahead of the 2021-22 season, via SNY:

“I felt like just leading up to the draft when I had my workouts with them, I feel like it was a great fit. I know Coach [Tom Thibodeau] is a tough, hard-nosed coach, and then coming from [Houston] Coach [Kelvin] Sampson, who is also a tough, hard-nosed coach, I felt like it would kind of be a match made in heaven,” Grimes said. “Just that he’s gonna be on you…

“I feel like I was picked in the perfect spot. I feel like some people might say that I was picked too low, picked too high or something like that, but I feel like I got picked in the right situation. I feel like going to New York is going to be a match made in heaven.”

Grimes is an elite shooter, averaging 17.8 points per game last season on 41% shooting from the field. He also connected on 40% of his shots from range, averaging 8.3 attempts per game. His ability to drive the baseline and shoot with a fearless mentality will help him at the next level.

“I feel like everybody knows that I’m a high-level shooter. I’m a high-level defender, but I feel like I’m also just – kind of, people just label me as a three-and-D guy, but I feel like I’m a lot more than that. I can play pick-and-roll, make plays, create plays for myself and others, but I feel like I could definitely have an immediate impact shooting the ball at a high level for threes and locking down defensively. Those are two things that I really pride myself and hang my hat on.”

At 6’5″, 205-pounds, and a 6’8″ wingspan, Grimes has great size and length to guard multiple positions on the perimeter. He averaged 1.4 steals per game last season at 21 years old, and has some of the most active hands in the draft class. He’s solid at closing out shooters and contesting jump shots, something his size helps him with.

Expect to see Grimes play a similar role to Reggie Bullock next season, being more of an off-ball player who hovers into specific spots on the floor, predominantly beyond the three-point line. His excellent defense will contribute toward him being perceived as a 3-and-D player, but that is not a bad thing whatsoever.

Ultimately, the Knicks added two players who will contribute immediately on defense, but also have solid offensive potential. Depending on how the front office attacks free agency, we could see both of these rookies play a significant role next season.

Knicks still vying for Chris Duarte post-draft, land Clemson F Aamir Simms, save ton of money with trades

knicks, chris duarte

The New York Knicks had two 3-and-D style players in mind in the 2021 NBA draft. With the front office targeting Oregon guard Chris Duarte, the Knicks found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Trying to move up in the draft, they failed to execute with a partner, settling for their second-tier option, Houston stand-out Quentin Grimes.

However, despite missing out on Duarte, the Knicks were still looking to acquire his services after the draft finished.

According to the Indy Star, the Knicks were in hot pursuit of Chris Duarte even after the draft concluded:

Long after the NBA Draft concluded Thursday, there were exchanges between the Pacers, Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks for the 6-6 forward.

Clearly, they see Duarte as a potential star player, having averaged 17.1 points, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and shot 53% from the field last season. His most impressive statistic, though, was his 42% success rate from three, averaging 5.5 attempts per game.

He is the exact fit for Tom Thibodeau and his defensive style with the addition of offensive scoring. Grimes offers something very similar, but they saw more potential with the Oregon product.

Knicks land forward Aamir Simms out of Clemson:

The Knicks landed Aamir Simms as an undrafted free agent after the draft ended on Thursday.

Last season with Clemson, Simms posted 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shot 53% from the field. He is a solid forward with potential. He will likely develop behind the scenes and potentially with the Westchester Knicks.

The Knicks saved themselves even more, cash to allocate during free agency:

A flurry of trades in the first round contributed in multiple ways for New York, adding both draft capital for the future and saving money. The Knicks traded the 19th overall selection to the Charlotte Hornets for a future conditional first-round pick and then traded back with the Los Angeles Clippers, offering the 21st pick in exchange for the 25th and a future second-rounder.

This move had impressive implications, as the Knicks saved about $2 million they can reallocate toward a potential free agent. They have big plans for this August, as the market is littered with talent. Expect to see a few FA pickups and the signing of a veteran point guard to help West Virginia draft pick Miles McBride develop his game. Bringing back Derrick Rose could be a priority.

The Knicks plugged two massive holes with brilliant NBA Draft execution

miles mcbride, knicks

The New York Knicks clearly had a priority during the NBA draft, three-point shooting, and defense. Their selections are refined in both categories, specifically Miles McBride out of West Virginia and Houston stand out, Quentin Grimes.

The front office executed a flurry of trades, showing off their ability to work the system and add capital for the future. The team simply didn’t have the luxury of hosting four rookies next season, but with several players set to be utilized as trade pieces, the Knicks will likely have open roster spots for the taking.

In addition to several trade assets, the Knicks have upwards of six players hitting the free-agent market, so replacing them in some fashion was a necessity.

Knicks Draft Moves:

1.) Traded 19th pick to Hornets for future 1st rounder

2.) Traded 21st pick to Clippers for 25th pick and future 2nd round

3.) Traded 32nd pick to Oklahoma for 34th and 36th picks

Players selected:

G: Quentin Grimes, Houston

Quentin Grimes this past season:

-84th percentile in overall offense

-92nd percentile in transition

-86th percentile P&R ball handler

-70th percentile isolation

-72nd percentile off screens

-81st percentile on handoffs

G: Rokas Jokubaitis, Lithuania

-Combo guard

-Averaged 7.0 points per game in Euro League

-Faced off against good competition in Europe, showed signs of promise

PG: Miles McBride, West Virginia

-Defensively stout point guard

-Fits Tom Thibodeau’s system

-Solid shooter

-Biggest hands of any guard in draft class

-Shot above 41% from range last season

Taking a look at the biggest stand out traits:

McBride isn’t just a fantastic perimeter defender, he also shot 41% from three last season. He averages 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and connected on 43% of his shots from the field. He is a high effort player who fits Thibodeau’s system perfectly. Allowing him to develop behind a veteran, potentially someone like Derrick Rose, will give him the confidence and time to adapt efficiently.

Grimes, on the other hand, is a perfect 3-and-D player for the Knicks, who could be outpaced in the Reggie Bullock sweepstakes. Grimes averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and shot 40% front range last season. Featuring on one of the best defensive teams in college basketball, you can see the trend beginning to form here with Thibodeau’s strategy.

They clearly prioritized defense with offensive upside, depending on their coaching staff to extract value over time. Grimes has Alec Berks vibes on offense but offers far more on defense than the veteran contributed last season.

Aside from the two American-born players, the Knicks also landed Lithuanian native Rokas Jokubaitis. As a combo guard who featured in the Euro League last season, he has experience against better competition, which should allow him to translate nicely to the NBA.

One of his biggest selling points is defense, with the ability to play on and off-ball. With solid ballhandling and diversity in the back-court, his versatility should contribute toward playing time. Most didn’t anticipate the Knicks going this route, but they are looking for guards with potential, and both McBride and Jokubaitis offer just that.

Knicks snag young point guard Miles McBride with the 36th overall pick, is he the future?

miles mcbride, knicks

The Knicks have made a flurry of trades, but they finally found a young point guard to develop around in West Virginia standout Mile McBride. With a desperate need for a young player to develop behind a veteran, McBride fits the bill perfectly.

Marc Berman of The Post stated recently that West Virginia point guard Mile McBride was a target for Thibodeau, who saw tons of upside:

According to one league source, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was pushing for West Virginia sophomore point guard Miles McBride, who has been projected in some mocks as an early second-round or late first-round pick. It’s unclear at which slot Thibodeau would prefer to select McBride — No. 19 or 21 in the first round, or No. 32 early in the second round — but the 20-year-old impressed him in his Knicks workout.

McBride stands out in a few categories, averaging 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and shooting 43% from the field last year. From range, he connected on 41% over 3.8 attempts. His abilities on defense are also intriguing, averaging 1.9 steals per game, indicating solid vision and the ability to cut through passing lanes. He represents a low-key PG prospect who could develop nicely given the right opportunity.

Having traded back several times, the Knicks were lucky to snag him at 36, and with the biggest hands in the entire Draft class among guards, he is savvy with his handles and poking the ball away from offensive players. He’s a perfect fit for Thibodeau and his style — his upside as a defender and solid offensive production could represent a long-term solution at point guard for the Knicks.

Knicks land G Rokas Jokubaitis after trading 32nd overall pick to Oklahoma City

Rokas Jokubaitis, knicks

The Knicks have enjoyed an eventful draft up to this point, trading the 19th pick to the Charlotte Hornets for a future first round, the 21st pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 25 pick and future second-round, and selected Houston guard Quentin Grimes to bolster their shooting.

Grimes is the perfect 3-and-D fit for the Knicks, who have the majority of their veteran shooters hitting the market, including Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks. With one of the best defenses in the league last season, Tom Thibodeau is clearly trying to retain that status. However, the team still desperately needed a young point guard to add to the roster, but they went in a different direction with Lithuanian native, Rokas Jokubaitis.

With the No. 32 pick, the Knicks moved back with the Oklahoma City Thunder, acquiring the 34th and 36th picks in exchange, per Woj of ESPN.

What does Rokas Jokubaitis bring to the Knicks?

Jokubaitis is certainly an interesting selection for the Knicks, who are gaining a player who averaged just 7.0 points, 2.5 assists, and shot 45% from the field last season with Zalgiris in the Euro League.

His measurables:

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 194 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6’9″
  • Position: Guard
  • Birthdate/Age:  November 19, 2000, 20 years
  • International: Zalgiris, three seasons
  • Stat line:  7.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals
  • Home Town: Mazeikiai, Lithuania

Solid showings on the international stage have jolted his stock, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer believed he could sneak into the first round. As a combo guard with upside, the Knicks took a flier here, but one that could pay off if he develops correctly.

 

 

Knicks finally execute, selecting Quentin Grimes with the 25th overall pick, what does he bring?

quentin grimes, knicks

After trading away the 19th and 21st overall picks, the New York Knicks finally landed a player with the 25th overall selection. Passing on several point guards, including Miles McBride and Sharife Cooper, the front office decided on Houston sharpshooter Quentin Grimes.

The Knicks worked Grimes out several days ago, as the 6’4″ shooting guard impressed. Having transferred from Kansas to Houston in 2019, he has been on their radar for quite some time. As of a month ago, he was expected to be a late first-round or early second-round selection, so landing him at 25 could be a bit premature.

Nonetheless, Grimes is a high-end shooter, averaging 17.8 points last season with Houston. He connected on 40% of his 8.3 times from three, providing essential shooting with five veterans expected to hit free agency this off-season. Averaging 32.8 minutes per game, he’s clearly ready to make the transition to the NBA.

The Knicks were reportedly interested in Chris Duarte out of Oregon earlier in the draft, but he was taken well before their selection. Grimes offers a solid 3-and-D wing, who contributed 1.4 steals last season, a career-high.

Quentin Grimes this past season:

-84th percentile in overall offense

-92nd percentile in transition

-86th percentile P&R ball handler

-70th percentile isolation

-72nd percentile off screens

-81st percentile on handoffs

The Knicks have the 32nd and 58th overall picks, so they can address the point guard position shortly.