JJ Redick Lobbies for Knicks ‘Game Changer’ to Get Playoff Rotation Spot

JJ Redick

Getty Former NBA player JJ Redick works for ESPN at Ball Arena on December 25, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.

ESPN analyst JJ Redick, a 16-year NBA veteran, made a strong case for New York Knicks reserve guard Miles McBride to be in Tom Thibodeau’s playoff rotation.

“McBride has been so important to the functionality of this team on both sides of the basketball, in particular, his shooting,” Redick said on the March 25 episode of “The Old Man and the Three Podcast” with Tim Legler. “As it’s just it’s like ‘Wow!'”

McBride has worked his way up to becoming one of Tom Thibodeau’s most trusted Ironmen in the wake of the Knicks’ injuries and following the OG Anunoby trade that depleted their bench depth.

The third-year guard seized the opportunity and has never looked back.

“I obviously watched them play a bunch. I’ve called their games and all of a sudden it felt like a couple of months ago, you’re like ‘Oh wow! This guy is coming in with this level of energy, this level of defensive tenacity and he’s going to shoot over 40% from three for this team.’ That’s a game changer. That is an absolute game changer.”

Another Leon Rose Masterclass

On the same day, the Knicks shipped away Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett for Anunoby, they also extended McBride to a three-year deal worth $13 million that is proving to be another steal for Leon Rose’s front office.

McBride steadily climbed from an afterthought into a staple of the Knicks rotation.

He only averaged 2.6 points on 33.3% 3-point shooting in sporadic 6.6 minutes off the bench in December before the Anunoby trade.

His numbers jumped to 8.3 points on 47.6% 3-point shooting in 15.6 minutes in January.

Proving that it was no fluke, McBride is doing it again in March with 12.6 points on 42.2% 3-point shooting in 33.3 minutes.

Since signing the extension, McBride is averaging 10 points on 40.4% 3-point shooting in 23 minutes.

The development of his offense, particularly his outside shot, which was practically non-existent in his first two seasons in the NBA has cushioned the impact of the Quickley and Barrett losses and the subsequent injury of Anunoby.

Miles McBride’s Coming Out Party

McBride, who built a reputation as a tenacious defender, has exploded over his last four games. He is averaging 19.8 points, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 54% from the field and 42.2% from the 3-point range in an insane 45.5 minutes of playing time.

McBride dropped a career-high 29 points on 6 of 9 3-point shooting in 47 minutes while shadowing Stephen Curry in a Knicks’ road win at Golden State on March 18 to start this best stretch of his young career.

Then on March 23, in a no-relief job, he scored 26 points on 6 of 12 3-point shooting in a home win against their across-the-bridge rivals Brooklyn Nets.

What makes McBride’s rise more impressive to Redick is because of the fluctuating role he’s had at the beginning of the season.

“Just think about that for a second, a guy who was essentially not in the rotation and is now being asked to play 30 minutes a Night to keep your playoff seeding alive, to keep your momentum going and he has responded,” Redick said. “Tim you know this because we live this at different times in our career when you are not a constant in the rotation when you don’t know every night what your minutes are going to be and how your shots are going to look, it’s very difficult in the NBA to shoot a good percentage when you are not in rhythm and he has been in rhythm since January.”

Knicks’ 8th Man in the Playoffs

McBride’s coming out party has “kept them in the hunt for homecourt [advantage] and it’s certainly earned him a right to be in a playoff rotation,” Redick said.

If Anunoby, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson all return for the Knicks’ postseason run, Thibodeau will have a rotation crunch with their new-found depth.

If Thibodeau will lean on an 8-man rotation in the postseason, their top-7 is already locked with Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein, Robinson and Josh Hart.

That 8th man spot will be a toss-up between McBride and Precious Achiuwa, who has also transformed from a throw-in in the Anunoby trade to a solid rotation piece.


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