Miles McBride Drops 29 Points, Displays Growing Confidence

Miles McBride

Getty Miles McBride

On March 27, in a 145-101 win over the Toronto Raptors, Miles McBride dropped 29 points while hitting 9 3-pointers. The New York Knicks guard is playing the best basketball of his career and has become a key piece of the Knicks’ rotation.

When the Knicks traded Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett to the Raptors, in a deal for OG Anunoby on December 30, questions arose about the lack of guard-depth on the roster behind Jalen Brunson, McBride has answered those questions.

While tying his career-high in points against the Raptors was great, the amount of minutes he has played lately is what truly shows the steps he has taken this year and the trust he has gained from his coaches.

McBride’s Progression

At the start of the year, McBride was barely in the Knicks’ rotation at all. He averaged 4.3 minutes in the two October games, 4.5 minutes in November, and 6.6 minutes in December. In January, with more minutes at the guard position opening up, he averaged 15.6 minutes per game. That number increased in February to 23.3 minutes per game and has ballooned in March to 33.8 minutes per game.

The chart below shows the increase in minutes, while the thickness of the line represents McBride’s increase in points per game. In 12 games in March, he’s averaging 14 points while shooting 48.4% from the field and 46.2% from three. He’s also averaging 3.2 assists in March, after averaging no more than 1.8 assists in any other month this season.

McBride Progression

@AOP_NBAMcBride Progression

McBride has played 40 or minutes in each of the Knicks’ last five games, including all 48 minutes in the Knicks 105-93 win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 23. Following the game, McBride was asked what has allowed him to play so many minutes lately, to which he answered “Honestly, it’s mental. Just telling myself to keep pushing through and give everything I got in order to get the win.”

There seems to be a confidence that McBride is playing with lately that hadn’t been there earlier this season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about McBride’s confidence after the win against the Raptors, to which he replied “Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, where does confidence come from? It comes from the work you put in, it comes from your preparation. And then I think when you see the results and we saw it in practice with the volume of shots and the accuracy of his makes in practice and when he came back in training camp, it was clear. And now that his role has expanded, he’s got a good rhythm and he can really shoot the ball and on top of that, his defense is top of the line. It was elite coming in and it’s special to watch.”

Knicks Pass Cleveland in the Standings

With the win over the Raptors and a Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Knicks took possession of third place in the Eastern Conference. At 44-28, they now sit a half-game up on the Cavs and are just two games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for second place.

The Knicks have 10 games remaining on their regular season schedule, including a matchup with the Bucks on April 4. Overtaking the Bucks will not be an easy task, as the Knicks have the ninth-hardest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to Tankathon.

Their next game will be against the San Antonio Spurs on March 29.

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