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West Virginia's Miles McBride treated image

West Virginia’s Miles McBride treated image

While it’s unclear where the Knicks truly end up picking in the 2021 NBA draft with two first-round and two second-round selections to juggle, they’re set up to take advantage of this latest crop of talent coming in.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of potential draft options for the Knicks, starting with West Virginia’s Miles McBride at the 32nd pick.

The case for drafting McBride

McBride, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound point guard with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, has been making noise at the NBA Draft Combine, pushing his stock from early second round into late first territory. The latest mock drafts have the West Virginia alum taken before the Knicks get a crack at him at 32, not a surprise given his skillset.

McBride is a two-way player, capable of giving a team buckets and locking up on the other end. That’s at the point guard position, which has been lacking for the Knicks. McBride is a smooth shooter, both off the catch and dribble, hitting 41.4 percent of his threes on just shy of four attempts per game. On the defensive end, he’s an on-ball hound that has thrived under a Thibodeau-esque coaching culture.

McBride has no standout X-factors in his game, which is maybe why it’s only now he’s rising on draft boards. He’s shown the occasional post up, though that might be hard to translate to the league, as well as a natural inside touch with the left hand and a lot of toughness and clutch play. But in the end, he’s simply solid at some broad NBA skills that teams value, and while that doesn’t fill the mind with endless possibility, it could make McBride the smart, reliable pick.

The case against drafting McBride

McBride’s play-type leans more towards scorer and secondary playmaker, things every team needs but ideally from players of different builds. At 6-foot-2, McBride is built to play point guard, and while he shouldn’t be too costly mismatched on the defensive end, he’s far from your traditional one. He listed his pick-and-roll game as an area for improvement, as he’ll surely be running plenty in the league, and can’t continually look to score each time. His average assist numbers aren’t backed by any reads or passes that inspire awe.

It’s perfectly fine if McBride is primarily a scorer at the next level, but we’ll need to see some more refinement first. His shorter build leaves less room for error, and he’s not winning any easy points with his athleticism. McBride has decent hops, speed and shiftiness, which can all look mediocre in the face of NBA explosiveness. His short-range pull-up looks good, but we need to see more of his in-between floaters, countermoves and shiftiness to tell how effective he’ll be.

McBride turns 21 before entering his first NBA season, by no means ancient but the same age as RJ Barrett. He may seem like an easy enough fit with the Knicks and an obvious pick should he drop to 32, but this late in the draft sometimes it’s best to go risky in order to yield any return.