1: Elite defense
It’s not an exaggeration to claim McBride is the best perimeter defender on New York’s roster. It’s been his calling card since his college days at West Virginia, utilizing his six-foot-nine wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and quick feet to stay in front of his man.
His 1.8 steals and 2.7 deflections per 36 minutes were the highest mark on the Knicks last year, according to NBA.com (a minimum of 25 games played).
He possesses the lateral quickness to stick with speedy guards and keep them off balance, but he also has a strong base so that larger forwards aren’t able to post him up for an easy short-range bucket.
McBride’s instant energy on the less glamorous side of the ball has been the main reason Thibodeau has constantly given him opportunities in crucial late-game defensive possessions despite not being a member of the team’s usual rotation.
He’s able to toe the line between being aggressive and reckless expertly, getting called for whistles nearly half as often as he did in his rookie year. This should also be another sign that he warrants an extended run on the floor each night in 2023-24, as the risk of him getting into foul trouble has greatly diminished.
McBride quietly had an improved second season despite not being able to crack most of New York’s lineups, displaying his offensive potential while simultaneously fine-tuning his defensive expertise.
If his career continues to trend upward, switching to a 10-man rotation to incorporate Deuce would help the Knicks go on an even longer postseason run next year.