At the start of the month, Miles McBride officially decided to forego the remainder of his NCAA eligibility when he chose to remain in the NBA draft instead of returning to West Virginia for his junior season.
“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 told ESPN in regards to his draft decision. “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.”
Projected to be selected in the latter half of the second round, McBride was one of several draft prospects to work out with the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend. The Lakers own the No. 22 pick in the draft, so the sophomore guard falls right into their range.
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A sophomore guard, McBride was the star at West Virginia this past season, averaging 15.9 points and 4.8 assists in 34.2 minutes over 29 games. Scoring-wise, he had a 43.1% field goal percentage and shot nearly the same on 3-pointers at 41.4%. These numbers were good enough for him to earn an All-Big 12 second team selection in 2021.
Compared to most NBA guards, McBride is a bit undersized. During the NBA Draft Combine, his height was measured at 6-feet, 1-inch without shoes and 6-feet, 2-5-inches with shoes.
Following his workout, McBride spoke with the media. He placed great emphasis on his competitive nature, acknowledging that there will be times when shots will and won’t fall.
“The main thing I’d say I’m trying to show is I’m the ultimate competitor,” McBride said of what he is trying to show teams during pre-draft workouts. “I feel like I’m definitely one of the best competitors in the draft — if not the best.”
Often listed as a point guard, McBride has noted that he can play both guard positions, per an article from the New York Post. Given his averages at West Virginia, it’s clear he can play lead guard and run the offense or play off-ball more as a scoring guard.
As a scorer, McBride has shown his ability to get up points in various ways, which Kyle Irving of NBA Canada has pointed out:
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.
At the combine, McBride’s wingspan was measured at nearly 6-feet, 9-inches, which should help him as a defender — particularly as an undersized guard. So he has promise as a two-way player in the league.
McBride, according to Jonathan Givony at ESPN, “was considered one of the most disruptive defenders in the college game.” As a sophomore at West Virginia, McBride averaged 1.9 steals per game. It’s this defensive potential that has partially helped McBride become an intriguing prospect to teams.
Should the Lakers part ways with Dennis Schröder, McBride could help fill that guard void.
McBride may have expressed comfort in being a combo guard, but whether he can fulfill the role of a traditional point guard is questionable. Alan Lu at NBA Scouting Live pointed out that the 20-year-old guard tended to emphasize scoring over playmaking in addition to inconsistent scoring.
McBride is also a bit undersized. His impressive wingspan could help make up for the height difference he’ll encounter against most other NBA perimeter players. But he will need to prove he can hold his own against them, which is also where his competitive mindset can aid him.