The New York Knicks have found a great deal of success running a nine-man rotation this season, but Miles McBride’s resurgence in Jalen Brunson’s absence could force the hand of Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau.
McBride was dropped from the rotation following the acquisition of Josh Hart last month. However, with Brunson sidelined due to a foot injury, McBride has taken full advantage of his opportunity once again.
The former second-round pick was the star of a recent win over the Portland Trail Blazers, posting a career-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He made four of his five three-point attempts and added three assists to go along with two blocks and a steal.
McBride was his usual tenacious self on defense, but it was his scoring that propelled him into the spotlight. The former West Virginia standout is making a strong case to remain in the rotation, even when Brunson returns from injury.
Miles McBride is proving he deserves a spot in the Knicks’ rotation
The Knicks did try a 10 or even 11-man rotation earlier in the season, although the results were mixed. The team found more success once Thibodeau dropped the likes of Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish from the game plan.
Still, it might be worth reconsidering a 10-man rotation. The Knicks have the depth for it, especially after the addition of Hart.
Thibodeau has long been a coach who values minutes for his starters over a deep bench rotation. He’s a strong critic of load management and has been criticized in the past for running his starters into the ground before the postseason begins.
We’ve seen that a little with a player like Julius Randle. Mikal Bridges is the only player in the entire NBA to play more minutes than Randle this season. His exhaustion has been especially evident in Brunson’s absence.
Randle is trying to shoulder the load of the entire team, and it’s led to him resorting to last season’s version of Randle. His ill-advised turnovers and forced shots have come at a detriment to the Knicks since Brunson went down.
It would benefit the Knicks to cut into the minutes of some of their starters, Randle in particular, ahead of the playoffs. McBride is someone who can absolutely benefit from those minutes.
Whether the Knicks would remain in a 10-man rotation in the postseason is another discussion, but until then, it makes sense to give someone like Randle a bit of a breather. Thibodeau isn’t going to sit Randle, but giving him fewer minutes over the final 11 games of the season would be wise.
McBride gives the Knicks a scrappy, high-energy, intelligent point guard who can come off the bench and give the team 15 minutes, even with Brunson in the lineup.
His tireless effort on defense combined with his scoring potential makes him an ideal point guard off the bench. McBride isn’t just some defense-first guard who can’t score — Tuesday’s game proved that he has the ability to contribute on the offensive side of the floor.
If Deuce McBride continues to impress, the Knicks might have no choice but to keep him in the rotation.