Tom Thibodeau isn’t closing the door on Miles McBride’s Knicks role

It’s not over for rookie combo guard Miles McBride.

When shooting guard and fellow rookie Quentin Grimes returned from a knee injury on Friday against Washington and played 19 minutes, McBride was the underdog.

McBride, the West Virginia point guard, had started the rotation during the Knicks’ recent six-game Western Conference swing — used as a backup tandem with Immanuel Quickley.

But that was when Grimes was in rehab. However, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before Sunday’s game against Utah that he wanted to find some space for McBride.

“We’ll see,” said Thibodeau. “I love what ‘Deuce’ has done. We’ll try to figure out how this works. He’ll probably go back and forth. He did a really good job. We’ll see how that develops.”

It shouldn’t be too complicated. Thibodeau only played a nine-man rotation on Friday. It is clear that despite the dismal standings, Thibodeau is still not in sufficient development mode to enter the play-in tournament.

Miles McBride
Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

But Thibodeau may be inclined to cut RJ Barrett, Alec Burks and Evan Fournier’s minutes to make room for McBride.

When asked about the use of nine men this late in the season, Thibodeau said: “Right now where we are I don’t want to hold Mitch down [Mitchell Robinson], or where RJ is. It’s also important to go back to where Quentin was. With the bench, I like how Quick played. We have to get Obi [Toppin] works again. We will have opportunities. It’s more situational with Deuce right now and I love his defense. I want to try to take advantage of that. I think his offense is coming too.”

Thibodeau was the Knicks’ summer league coach when current St Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway tried it in 2000. Holloway was an undrafted point guard from Seton Hall. Now he’s the hottest coach in basketball.

Shaheen Holloway
Shaheen Holloway
Getty Images

“All I remember is that he had a really good college career, was a great competitor and did a hell of a job as a coach,” Thibodeau said. “So I’m very happy with how his career has been going and how he’s progressed and done a good job and been in a lot of good programs throughout his coaching career.”

With the Knicks likely to end up in the lottery, Thibodeau could be seeing a lot of college basketball tapes soon. He is currently catching parts of the NCAA tournament.

“I’m going to get an opportunity to watch a little bit here, a little bit there,” Thibodeau said. “Then when the season is over I will go back and dig a lot deeper. It’s an exciting time of year. College changed with One-and-Done. The way college is now, the mid-majors, there’s a lot of older players, 23, 24, 25, and they’re playing against 18-year-old kids, so anything can happen.

Thibodeau can’t complain about the feature, as the Knicks rank second in the NBA in free throw attempts per game.

“I think it’s about understanding the value of shots and penetration,” Thibodeau said. Tom Thibodeau isn’t closing the door on Miles McBride’s Knicks role


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