Breaking down Miles McBride's massive Knicks playoffs impact

There’s no shortage of credit owed to every member of the Knicks rotation for how they’ve competed in this opening round. Being up 3-2 against the reigning MVP and a perennial Eastern Conference contender without co-star Julius Randle while battling other injuries is no easy feat, and one only accomplished when everybody on the court plays to their maximum efforts and abilities.

One performance worth shining light on is Miles “Deuce” McBride’s, putting up 13 points and 0.8 steals on 12-of-26 shooting from behind the arc across 26.2 minutes a night off the bench and successfully defending the opposing All-Star point guard. This comes in the same season he was considered an end-of-bench project for a third consecutive year.

After splitting time between Westchester and the city, failing to leave an offensive impact in his scant NBA minutes over two-and-a-half seasons, New York’s trade for OG Anunoby opened a permanent rotation spot for McBride.

He went on to sign a three-year extension which kickstarted his breakout down the stretch. McBride finished with a career year, averaging 10.7 points and 2.1 assists on 40.9 percent shooting from three-point land after the deal.

That stretch included starting in place of an injured Anunoby in late March for nine straight games, in which he put up 18.9 points on 44.3 percent shooting from three, while still playing his hounding defense.

There was no question he’d be in the playoff rotation, but even the most optimistic fans couldn’t have expected him to exceed his regular season production against a tough opponent in his first real postseason role. Yet he’s managed to do so on both ends.

In Game 1, McBride was a massive spark off the bench, scoring 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three, including a couple of big buckets in the fourth. He became New York’s third-leading scorer in the series opener with Jalen Brunson struggling from the field.

Games 2 and 3 were less impactful, but he responded with a series-defining Game 4, finishing with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three while closing out on Tyrese Maxey during crunch time in the road win that gave the Knicks a 3-1 edge.

He had another strong outing in Game 5, dropping 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field while reeling in four rebounds and four assists, nearly helping to deliver the series victory.

Though known for his defense, McBride’s been the Knicks’ fourth-leading scorer in these Playoffs, trailing just Brunson, Anunoby and Josh Hart. He’s also made the second-most threes on the team this postseason, further cementing his contributions.

On the defensive end, Maxey’s been McBride’s primary assignment all series, one he hasn’t shied away from. He’s spent about 28 minutes guarding Maxey according to matchup data, more than any other Knicks, with only Anunoby coming close at 19 minutes.

Anunoby’s arguably done the best job on Maxey, but McBride’s done well against him too. Maxey scored 34 points on 14-27 shooting with two turnovers with McBride as the primary defender, while he’s been more efficient on most other Knicks.

McBride held Maxey to 2-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter of Game 4 in a pivotal lockdown performance, and his relentless pressure could be playing a role in fatigue for one of Philly’s two reliable scorers. Not bad for a second-round pick signed to a glorified rookie scale deal.

The Knicks have needed, and will need the most of what depth they have left in these playoffs, especially with Bojan Bogdanovic now out for the season with foot and wrist injuries.If Deuce McBride continues playing to this level, he’ll more than exceed what the Knicks can hope out of him.