Deuce is Loose: Miles McBride Latest to Rise in Knicks' Rotation Adjustments

Deuce is Loose: Miles McBride Latest to Rise in Knicks' Rotation Adjustments

Updated: 3 months, 14 days, 11 hours, 24 minutes, 16 seconds ago

As questions linger about Cam Reddish and Derrick's New York Knicks future, Miles McBride appears to have a role in the team's immediate future.

Ah, New York Knicks basketball: where you could be repping Westchester one week and then taking an MVP's minutes the next. 

That's quite the turnaround for Miles "Deuce" McBride, who appears to be the latest beneficiary of head coach Tom Thibodeau's desperate quest to find consistency in his New York lineup. The Knicks (11-13) are fresh off a surprising victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, their first over a team with a winning record since Nov. 16 in Denver. 

Now, the hard part begins: that win over the Nuggets was also the last time the Knicks have won consecutive games. It appears Thibodeau is making adjustments in time for the Atlanta Hawks' visit on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG/ESPN), and McBride factors into Thoibdeau's latest attempt at a nine-man rotation. 

McBride's second season In New York has involved a lot of traveling ... and not just because of his participation in Sunday's turnover-laden win. The second-round choice from 2021 began the year buried on the bench, playing just over 10 minutes over the first 15 games. He's since been lingering in the team's rotation, slowly overtaking the minutes previously earned by Cam Reddish and Derrick Rose. In between, McBride has made cameo appearances with the Knicks' G League team as the Knicks try to find themselves.

Questions will linger about Reddish and Rose's future ... ones that the Knicks don't appear ready to answer, though Rose mentioned that he "understood" the apparent decision ... but McBride appears to be a part of the immediate New York forecast.

McBride has appeared to have won Thibodeau over with his defensive effort, spelling the Knicks' top frontcourt options in Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes alongside more offensive-minded Immanuel Quickley. Over his past seven games, McBride has averaged just under 10 minutes and the Knicks are plus-21 when he's on the floor.  

In the meantime, McBride has gotten a chance to show off his offensive skills with Westchester, averaging 22.5 points and nine assists in two games, both victories.

Of course, if the Knicks continue to struggle, McBride could find himself right back where he started. That's what's troubling about Reddish, who played his way into the starting lineup before a groin injury turned his duties over to Grimes. Reddish played just nine minutes in Saturday's loss to Dallas and was held out of the Cleveland win entirely. 

Thibodeau was cryptic about Reddish's quick descent from starting five staple to healthy scratch, one potentially hastened by a bout with a groin injury last month.

“It’s not just on Cam,” Thibodeau said, per Newsday. “It’s on our team.”

Reddish's exile comes as his original NBA employers come to town on Wednesday night. He's potentially playing for his professional future after the Knicks declined to exercise his contract extension.

If Thibodeau's nine-man gambit sounds familiar, that's because he previously employed such an idea during a five-game road trip last month, one that is likely the source of the Knicks' most consistent basketball so far this season. In that 3-2 stretch, Grimes established himself as a starter, working his way out of exile. Jericho Sims played a large role in the interior but has since slid to the back of the bench upon Mitchell Robinson's return from injury. Evan Fournier, opening night's starting shooting guard, fell out of the rotation during the trip and literally hasn't seen the floor since. 

The Knicks' boss hinted that the adjustments could continue until the Knicks find some consistency in the win column: New York hasn't won three in a row since their first three home games back in October. 

“You settle on a nine-man rotation and then whether it’s injury, foul trouble or whatever it might be, a guy gets thrown in there and if they play well then they continue to play,” Thibodeau said. “It’s a long season. There are a lot of things that happen. So (guys) just stay ready. 

"We think practice is important. We think being a good teammate is important. Being into the game so you help in any way that you can.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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