Knicks X-Factor makes extension look like an absolute steal in Game 1 playoff win

Jalen Brunson had an off night, but the Knicks still got the win.
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Jalen Brunson had one of his worst games of the season, but the New York Knicks still got the 111-104 Game 1 win over the Sixers to take the 1-0 series lead. Read that again.

Entering the postseason, one of New York's main critiques was that the team wouldn't fare well in the non-Brunson minutes. Tom Thibodeau doesn't have the luxury of keeping Brunson or Julius Randle on the floor at all times, as the star forward underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. However, Thibs does have the luxury of having Miles McBride on the bench.

In his first playoff game as part of the rotation, McBride stole the spotlight. He finished with 21 points (5-of-7 from three), four assists, three rebounds, and one steal in 28 minutes. Deuce posted a game-high +37 plus/minus. It doesn't get much better than that.

After the Dec. 30 trade that sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto, McBride signed a three-year, $13 million contract extension. The most he'll make through 2026-27 is $4.7 million, which will happen in 2024-25. That's a lot of money to the common man, but not for an NBA player.

Miles McBride propels Knicks to Game 1 playoff win over Sixers

Brunson will be eligible for an extension this summer, but he could wait until the 2025 offseason to sign one. The contract he signed in 2022 free agency will go down as one of the best deals in Knicks history. Leon Rose has a knack for signing guards to team-friendly deals, with McBride being the latest.

In 2021, McBride was a second-round pick. He was more of an afterthought in his first two seasons with the Knicks. Over the past few months, the 23-year-old has completely flipped the script. In an expanded role, he's averaged 10.6 points since the end of December.

If it weren't for McBride, New York would likely be down 0-1. Scratch that. The Knicks would be down 0-1. Even Brunson agrees.

He's turned into a two-way threat, and the best part is that he's still far from reaching his ceiling. Buckle up, Knicks fans, because The McBride Show is just beginning!