Miles McBride, a sophomore point guard for West Virginia, was projected as a mid-second-round pick when he announced he would evaluate his draft prospects following the Mountaineers’ 19-10 season.
McBride’s stock is rising after measurements and drills at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on Sunday cleared up some questions about his defence. Teams were already aware of his shooting ability.
McBride revealed that he has only held private workouts for the Knicks and Celtics. If the Knicks keep all of their draft picks, he could be available at No. 19 or No. 21. The Knicks, if you haven’t heard, are in desperate need of a point guard.
Because of his size, McBride is viewed as a pure point guard in the NBA, despite playing some shooting guard in the Big 12. He was 6-foot-1 without shoes and 6-2 1/2 with them on.
McBride’s 6-foot-8 3/4 wingspan was the highlight of the combine. That was the best of the bunch of point guards tested. McBride’s surprising wingspan was aided by his hands, which were also the largest among point guards.
“I see myself having the ball in my hands,’’ McBride said. “That’s what I feel comfortable as. But I also feel comfortable playing off the ball. My shotmaking ability is a huge part of my game. And playing with another player who has the ball in his hands is something I can definitely do. I feel comfortable making decisions and having the ball in my hands. And being as competitive as I am, I feel I can find myself on a team contributing a lot of both.’’
McBride, 20, has yet to hire an agent and has until July 7 to withdraw. According to one source, Mark Bartelstein, one of the NBA’s top agents, is the frontrunner to be McBride’s agent.
As a sophomore, McBride averaged 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He made 41.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. Coach Tom Thibodeau stated at the combine that the Knicks are looking for “shooters.”
Of course, if you don’t defend, you won’t be able to play for Thibodeau. However, McBride’s wingspan may give teams more confidence in him as an on-ball defender against bigger point guards.
“My defence was based on my West Virginia reputation,” McBride explained. “I don’t think they knew my physical attributes — how long, big and fast I am.’’
McBride, according to Rashad Phillips, who runs the draft-rankings website “2319,” will be selected between rounds 21 and 32 and could still end up in the second round.
“He’s a winner,’’ Phillips said. “I love his tenacity and speed.’’
Thibodeau was in Chicago with the Knicks’ president Leon Rose, assistant general manager Walter Perrin, and general manager Scott Perry.
“I love coming here for the opportunity to sit down and interview with players,” Thibodeau said on ESPN’s combine show. “A lot of times, you find a lot of interesting things. I think that’s an important piece of this. It’s not the end-all, be-all, but it’s a big part of determining who would fit into your group.’’
Chris Duarte, a sharpshooting swingman for Oregon, skipped the draft combine. In Chicago, it was rumoured that Duarte had a second-round guarantee. The Knicks pick 32nd overall.