In his freshman season at West Virginia, Miles McBride was a backup who showed some promise, but had just as many question marks on what he would bring to the team the following year. He quickly answered those concerns with solid performances to begin the season, including a 17/7/7 effort to go along with 4 steals against Georgetown in the Mountaineer’s fifth game. He never looked back from there and after a breakout sophomore campaign, Miles is looking to carry this momentum into the NBA with him.
Miles “Deuce” McBride, Combo Guard, West Virginia
Age: 20 (9/8/2000)
McBride is an aggressive point of attack defender who frequently attempts to smother ball handlers. His high-level lateral quickness and length allow him to defend in this aggressive manner without it frequently leading to offensive advantages for the opposition. He also made plays, racking up a combined 2.2 steals plus blocks per game last season.
While his offensive game improved immensely from his freshman to his sophomore season, his defensive ability shined both years. Some players just have that defensive mentality where they take every basket they concede personally and their effort is never in question. Deuce is definitely one of those players. Combine that with McBride’s strength and athleticism and you get a tenacious, versatile defender that can stay with guards and switch onto smaller wings.
26 seconds of Miles McBride defense… Enjoy pic.twitter.com/DhPLyu2uyN
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) December 7, 2020
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of McBride’s revamped offensive repertoire for his sophomore season was the 11% increase in his three point shooting. Miles converted at over 40% on a similar volume of both off the dribble and spot-up attempts. At just 3.8 attempts per game and a 30% three point shooting freshman season, there are legitimate questions on if he can be a consistent shooter.
His mid-range pull-up game is solid, if not over-used. Miles settles for a lot of mid-range attempts and often struggles to convert on floaters. His pull-up game is decent enough, but he could benefit from more shots at the rim. He he was a solid finisher both seasons at West Virginia, the problem is he rarely got to the basket. If McBride can add to his handle to become more effective at dribble penetration, his efficiency would likely take a jump.
Miles’ 2.7 ast./t.o. ratio this past season gave him the 15th best ratio amongst division 1 players with at least 100 assists. Take out all the upperclassmen ahead of him and McBride moves all the way up to 4th. While he does not yet posses many advanced dribble moves, Miles’ fairly tight handle and passing awareness are the primary reasons he had a 28.5% assist percentage last year.
What may be the most impressive aspect of McBride’s playmaking ability, however, is that these numbers all came as the second option on a West Virginia team that rarely ever ran spread pick and roll. This meant Deuce was often operating with much less spacing than traditional NBA offenses dictate. While he’s likely more of a secondary playmaker as he enters the league, it would not be unreasonable to think McBride can continue to get better as a distributer and handler. Eventually he could prove capable of playing either guard position at the next level.
As I mentioned early, McBride has a tendency to settle when defenders decide to back off in an effort to take away his drive. Unless he can become more efficient in the mid-range, NBA defenses will play him the same way. He doesn’t have elite speed to get by defenders, so he would likely need to get more creative and shifty with his dribble in order to create more shots right at the hoop.
It wouldn’t hurt if Deuce were to be a bit more aggressive from beyond the arc as well. His percentages might fall slightly, but a couple more attempts per game could help tempt defenses to guarding him more tightly, opening up the drive.
Miles is a very loud and active defender, but at times is caught over gambling. While he has elite recover ability, there will be even more players in the NBA that make you pay from just one mistake. He shows flashes of making great defensive rotations, but still has work to do as a team defender. All the tools are there to be a high-level perimeter defender in all aspects, but McBride will need to improve his awareness and decision making to get to that level.
Projected Draft Range: Late 1st round – Early 2nd round
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 22nd overall
NBA Comparison: Cameron Payne/Norman Powell
McBride’s potential to play either guard position while being a lockdown defender with a reliable three point shot is tantalizing. Even if he never reaches those heights, as so few do, Miles still feels like a fairly safe bet to become an end of rotation level guard. At the 26th overall pick, the Nuggets are within range of where most mocks have Deuce being selected. With so much similar talent in this draft class it would make sense for Denver to take whichever player falls to them. If that happens to be McBride, I know one thing- Michael Malone would love his defensive tenacity.