The New York Knicks appear to be solving problems at all levels of the depth chart.
Among the starters, Jalen Brunson thrived and lived up to all expectations when he signed a four-year, $104 million deal with the team. Quentin Grimes has effectively taken over the duties of Marksman, while their best casting option, Immanuel Quickley, has reportedly immobilized.
Most of the Knicks bench seems expendable: Grimes, for example, has replaced both Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish in his starting spot, and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before both are postponed. Derrick Rose is in a similar boat, and the Knicks are reportedly trying to “do the right thing” when it comes to dealing with the former MVP.
That leaves potential uncertainty surrounding Miles McBride, a sophomore kink that was a fleeting if not routine foreshadowing of big-city hardwood. The 2021 second-round pick has appeared in each of the last 22 games, averaging just over 17 minutes over that span and has been praised for his defensive work. Like Quickley before him, McBride appears to have impressed well enough to stay away from the negotiating table.
“Front offices in contact with the Knicks say that New York has said it does not want to move the 22-year-old,” said The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “The Knicks are high in his defensive skills, energy and work ethic.”
While the Knicks often narrow their late-stage lineup to the Starting Five and Quickley, McBride has become a permanent fixture in the rotation thanks to his defense. His offensive efforts…or lack thereof considering he hasn’t scored in four straight games…have left much to be desired, he’s played a big part in the team’s recent success on defence.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau, for example, called McBride’s defensive union with Grimes “outstanding” as the two helped hold the Houston Rockets to 88 points in a win that capped last calendar year.
“I thought[McBride]and Quentin’s defenses were outstanding,” Thibodeau said, according to the New York Post. “These guys can influence the game a lot with their defense and they usually do.”
Some might have thought McBride could see a change of address thanks to his recent results, having played under 10 minutes a game in each of the last four games (including just six in Monday’s overtime loss to Toronto). But McBride, who spent his rookie days on and off the G League ledger, seems to be slowly forming a permanent place in the New York rotation, one that will make it big as the Knicks try to keep space between themselves and Eastern to create Conference Play-In tournament territory.
McBride and the Knicks (25-20) return Wednesday night when they take on the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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