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Miles McBride is the Knicks’ lucky rabbit’s foot

The Knicks haven’t lost a game since locking the tenacious sophomore into their rotation.

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Sacramento Kings v New York Knicks Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Miles “Deuce” McBride, the sophomore guard out of West Virginia University, has quickly proven himself to be a versatile and valuable asset, a defender with real bite. Since the New York Knicks made him a fixture in the rotation, they haven’t lost a game. Not to get all superstitious about it, but obviously Deuce is their lucky rabbit’s foot.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Walt and Kim McBride’s kid developed a love for basketball at a young age. Dad hooped for the Xavier Musketeers, and mom played tennis at Ohio State. Deuce honed his skills through countless hours of practice and daily hard-nosed driveway battles with his older brother Trey, who plays point guard for the German team, Itzehoe Eagles.

At Archbishop Moeller High School, Deuce was a standout two-sport athlete. He led the basketball team to a state championship in 2018, and as a quarterback, he was equally impressive. (Football clips here.) As a senior, he forewent football to focus on hoops, and his gamble paid off: the Moeller b-ballers finished 29-0 and were Division 1 State Champs.

After graduation, Deuce took his talents to the West Virginia Mountaineers, establishing himself as one of the top players in the Big 12 Conference.

As a WVU freshman, he averaged 9.5 points per game and was chosen for the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. In his second season, he elevated his game, leading the team in scoring (15.9 points per game) and earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors. Known for his steady presence and work ethic, he proved to be a player with unshakable confidence, capable of scoring from anywhere on the court and playing dogged, never-quit defense.

At the 2021 NBA Combine, he measured 6’1” barefoot, 6’2.5” in shoes, 8’3.5” standing reach, 195.2 lbs, and a 6’8.75” wingspan. Many NBA scouts saw Deuce’s potential, but, “his feel for the game needs some improvement.” Per

As good as he is laterally, he lacks a great burst off the dribble … First step is good but not elite … Struggles at blowing by defenders and getting to the rim … 2P% just 43%, he shoots a high volume but low productivity … Transition game needs improvement, decision making must improve as well as his ability to finish … Doesn’t have an elite skill at this point, but does a lot of things well.

Yeah, yeah. That defense, though….

Knicks’ Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, a defensive specialist, was allegedly eager to snatch up the fearless young Mountaineer. On Draft Night 2021, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the picks Deuce (#36) and Rokas Jokubaitis (#34) to the New York Knicks for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (#32).

For much of his first season in the NBA, Deuce shuttled between the G-League Westchester Knicks and the parent club in Madison Square Garden. His G-League stats impress. For the W-Knicks, he averaged 22.5 points, nine dimes, and three boards, while shooting 48% from the floor and 41% from beyond the arc. As the lead playmaker, 73% of his field goals were unassisted.

He appeared in 40 games for the big league club last season, started two, and averaged about nine minutes per appearance. Despite the limited usage, he usually made the most of his opportunities. In a December 2021 contest against the Houston Rockets, he scored a career-high 15 points and stole the ball four times in 35 minutes.

Thus far into his sophomore season, he’s appeared in 18 games. His shooting was rough through the first leg of the season but has improved with increased playing time, rising to 37% from the field and 32% from deep over his last seven games.

With Thibs reducing his rotation to nine men, McBride made the cut over veterans Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, and Cam Reddish. Clearly, the coach believes in his young dawg. Although the scoring hasn’t caught up yet, McBride’s defense has been stellar—opponents have a 92.9 offensive rating with Deuce on the floor, and 114.6 with him out. Since Deuce replaced Rose in the line-up, the team ripped off a seven-game win streak and their defense rose in the rankings to eighth in the league.

Recently, he was the subject of a New York Post article. According to Petter Botte, the young guard has understood his role as a reserve guard behind veterans and patiently awaited playing time. He told Botte, “Last year it was Kemba [Walker], D-Rose, Alec Burks. This year it’s still D-Rose, and now Jalen [Brunson]…I just knew it was time to work on my game and my opportunity would come.”

Off the court, McBride is always willing to put in extra work to improve his game. Fred Katz wrote about him last week in the Athletic. (Paywalled) In the article, Katz noted how Deuce and draft classmate Quentin Grimes constantly argue about whose university had the best defense. A McBride quote from the article: “We just try to make it competitive, because we know at the end of the day we’re just trying to make each other better.”

Quote Katz:

McBride and Grimes would go one-on-one before and after games. Grimes would guard McBride pregame and then they’d flip roles during their postgame matches. The battles turned even more exhaustive over the summer when they would play full-court mano a mano and had to pressure each other the whole way down the floor.

This is reminiscent of Deuce’s basketball battles with his brother in the McBride family’s driveway. In Grimes, Deuce has found a surrogate to play the role of sibling nemesis. If he continues to play high-intensity defense, he will have a place on the Knicks for a long time—even if his luck wears off and they lose once in awhile.

We part on this. Could these two be any more lovable?