When NBA draft prospect Miles McBride initially worked out for the Boston Celtics last month, there was still a chance that he would return to West Virginia — where he had just finished his sophomore season.
As reported by Chris Grenham of Forbes, McBride joined several other draft prospects for a pre-draft workout in mid-June. But McBride was not completely committed to the draft at the time. He hadn’t hired an agent, so he could maintain his NCAA eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by July 7.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported this weekend that McBride has chosen to stay in the NBA draft, giving up his remaining years of college eligibility to pursue a professional career.
McBride noted his love for West Virginia but mentioned that his “best chance” of fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA means “leaving now.”
“The main reason was the feedback I got from the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee. Being drafted in the late first to early second round is what I’ve heard the most,” McBride said to ESPN. “I had a great week at the NBA combine and at my pro day, meeting with NBA teams and hearing from them directly how interested they are in me.”
Following the NBA Draft Combine, Mike Berman of the New York Post reported that McBride scheduled a private workout with the Celtics.
He could be out of the Celtics’ draft range, though. Boston owns just the No. 45 pick, and McBride is projected to be selected as a late first-round or early second-round pick. So for the Celtics to have a chance at the guard, Boston will likely need to move up in the draft.
Given the potential he possesses, though, McBride could be worth the move.
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A sophomore guard, McBride was West Virginia’s best player, posting averages of 15.9 points and 4.8 assists in 34.2 minutes per game. He also proved his worth as an efficient scorer. In 29 games, he shot 41.4% on 3-pointers and 43.1% from the field. The numbers were good enough for a selection to the All-Big 12 second team.
During the NBA Draft Combine, McBride’s height was measured at 6-foot-1 without shoes and 6-foot-2.5 with shoes, so he is a bit undersized — particularly if he’ll be at the two guard.
McBride has been listed as a point guard, but he mentioned in a New York Post article that he’s comfortable playing either guard spot. He can play off the ball and run the offense, as evidenced by his numbers at West Virginia.
In terms of scoring, NBA Canada’s Kyle Irving highlighted McBride’s ability to get buckets in a variety of ways:
Following a strong second season at West Virginia, McBride flashed his ability to score from all three levels of the floor with a confident 3-point jumper, a reliable pull-up or floater from midrange and strong, below-the-rim finishing around the basket as an undersized guard.
McBride also has potential as a defender and could be a promising two-way player.
Givony said McBride “was considered one of the most disruptive defenders in the college game,” which is one reason teams find him as an intriguing draft prospect.
He averaged 1.9 steals per game at West Virginia and impressed at the NBA Draft Combine, where he measured in at a near 6-foot-9 wingspan. This will be especially beneficial given his smaller size for a guard.
McBride can score, but his ability to be a traditional point guard is of concern. NBA Scouting Live’s Alan Lu mentioned that McBride sometimes prioritizes scoring over running the offense. He also can be an inconsistent scorer.
There’s also the question of how well McBride can do against bigger players. His wingspan is impressive and will help him handle traditional-sized guards. But he will have to prove his being undersized won’t hinder his potential to succeed in the NBA, especially if his offense will be more about scoring than playmaking.
McBride acknowledged to ESPN that he and teams he has met with are aware he has improvements to make. But his work ethic and his being an “elite competitor” is an upside.