deuce mcbride knicks
Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Deuce McBride was automatic from three-point range in the Knicks’ 91-82 win over the Lakers in Summer League.

Danny Small

Deuce McBride is facing an uphill battle for legitimate playing time in his rookie season. He’s joining a New York Knicks playoff team that brought back the entire core while adding a few pieces in free agency and the draft.

If McBride is going to see any playing time for the Knicks this year, he needs to earn it. Wednesday night’s Summer League game against the Lakers is a good start.

McBride, 20, was dialed in from distance, hitting all six of his three-point attempts. In fact, he was 7-for-9 from the floor en route to 22 points. The West Virginia product added seven rebounds, five assists, and strong perimeter defense. Although McBride’s marksmanship from deep will steal headlines, his all-around game was on full display on Wednesday night.

Path to Playing Time

Again, earning playing time won’t be easy for McBride this season. While he’s a point guard by trade, he’s flashing some potential as a secondary ballhandler — the Knicks are giving Immanuel Quickley the majority of Summer League point guard reps.

For the record, Quickley has been phenomenal over the last two Summer League games. The Lakers had no answer for McBride or IQ.

The Knicks have a crowded backcourt for the time being. Kemba Walker will start at point guard with Derrick Rose backing him up off the bench. It also looks like Quickley is going to be putting in time at point guard this year as well.

When it comes to shooting guard, one of Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett will start at the two in the regular season. Quickley and Alec Burks will get plenty of time at the position off the bench as well. And don’t forget about New York’s first-round pick — Quentin Grimes.

In short, there are plenty of guys ahead of McBride on early depth charts. Injuries are likely going to be McBride’s path to minutes at the NBA level. With Walker and Rose’s fraught injury histories, it’s imperative that McBride stay ready.

Whether he’s riding the bench for the Knicks or playing big minutes for the Westchester Knicks in the G League, this upcoming season is going to be all about development for McBride.

So, this standout Summer League performance is a great sign for McBride’s future, but it’s still going to be difficult for him to carve out a role on the NBA Knicks in 2021-22. Not impossible, but difficult.