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Player Preview: Deuce McBride must stay ready even on roster deep with guards

A damn hard worker on a pitch count.

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

While fans of other teams may never suspect it, Miles “Deuce” McBride has surprisingly become somewhat of a fan favorite over his two-year NBA career thanks in large part to his stellar play in the G-League, where he has averaged 27.9 points and 10.3 assists per game.

In the NBA, however, his production hasn’t really carried over. The third-year point guard has averaged just three points, 1.1 assists, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.5 steals in 104 games.

Hidden behind those subpar numbers are a few outstanding performances like his 18-point outburst against the Trail Blazers this past March, and his nine-assist game against the Rockets in 2021. Dig a bit deeper, watch the actual tape, and you’ll see a very Tom Thibodeau-esque player who plays some amazing point-of-attack defense and gives it his all.

In the past, we’ve seen McBride play some great defense and use his 6’9” wingspan against some of the league’s elite players.

But like many of the young players on the Knicks in recent years, McBride finds himself in a tricky situation to deal with where there are simply better players at his position ahead of him.

The former West Virginia Mountaineer sits behind two incredibly talented players in Jalen Brunson and Immanuel Quickley, and unless one of them goes down for a significant amount of time or gets traded, McBride will likely be relegated to garbage minutes and emergency situations once again this season.

McBride is a very solid option to have as a third-stringer. He plays incredibly hard, makes the right plays often, is damn near elite defensively, and is very unselfish. As an added bonus, whenever he is called upon, McBride is often ready and willing to do whatever it takes.

That said, with the depth chart getting deeper and deeper at the guard position by the year, it just doesn’t make much sense for the Knicks to give McBride any real playing time.

McBride saw slight upticks in both games played and minutes played last season, so I do think that there’s a chance that. With some improvements to his offensive game, he can get into maybe 67-70 games this season, and see his minutes go from 11.9 per game to maybe like 12.5-ish especially if Thibodeau goes back to a 10-man rotation. But it’s far from a guarantee that we see those things.

While McBride has shown flashes of being a serviceable offensive player, he has thus far been incredibly inefficient, shooting just 33.7% from the floor and 28.2% from deep. Also, there’s a chance that a whole season of Josh Hart and the addition of Donte DiVincenzo actually leads to a decrease in minutes and games played this season for McBride.

Last but not least, we also have to remember that Brunson missed 14 games last season, so if he is healthier and misses fewer games, that likely means even fewer opportunities for McBride.

Hopefully, McBride can somehow continue to improve although that can be a very difficult task when not getting real NBA experience and getting into games consistently. Unfortunately for McBride and his camp, it’s looking like it may be another season of limited minutes and a limited role.

Then again, the NBA season is very long and with injuries and potential trades (perhaps involving Quickley), you never know what’ll happen. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that this team stays healthy and keeps Quickley, but it’s fair to at least consider that if something changes and McBride is needed and called upon, he will be there and ready to try his damn hardest.