The Knicks sent Deuce McBride down to Westchester on Wednesday, which could signal a coming trend
The New York Knicks are a veteran-laden team with a rotation that can go 11 deep when they are fully healthy. It’s not the best landing spot for rookies who are looking for playing time.
It’s no secret that Tom Thibodeau is as rigid a coach as they come. That’s his DNA as a coach and it’s part of what makes him great. In all likelihood, he’s going to stick with this group of starters and second-unit guys for the duration of the season, barring injuries, of course.
The bulk of that has been Sims, who is on a two-way contract, playing because of injuries to the frontcourt combined with, ironically, Thibodeau’s unwillingness to play without a rim protector on the floor. But still, minutes for the rookies have been minimal and mostly garbage time.
This begs a question that teams are forced to ask year in and year out: Would (insert young player) be better off playing big minutes in the G League? For the Knicks, (insert young player) boils down to the three rookies.
Knicks fans have asked this question as much as any fanbase in the last half-decade. In the past, it was often because that player was struggling on the court. Now, it’s because the Knicks are so deep that it’s hard for those rookies to get on the floor.
The Knicks, at least in part, answered that question on Wednesday by sending Deuce McBride to Westchester for the night. He lit it up in Bridgeport, CT — the Westchester Knicks’ temporary home while the Westchester County Center is used for COVID vaccinations.
McBride, a second-round pick, dropped 25 points and dished out nine assists in 41 minutes.
Sending McBride down shows a willingness to use the G League for player development. Thibodeau told reporters that he wants to keep McBride with the NBA team for the most part, but will send him down for minutes from time to time.
Westchester opened the season with four road games, all losses. The latest win, courtesy of McBride, was the team’s first home game that kicks off a stretch of six in Bridgeport before a five-game road trip.
Based on the schedule, there are going to be about three to four opportunities where the Knicks could send McBride down to Westchester between now and Dec. 3.
After how successful his G League debut was, it’s safe to assume McBride will be playing a few more games in Bridgeport this year. The Knicks have plenty of ballhandlers to mix and match if there is an injury to Kemba Walker or Derrick Rose. Thibs has used Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks as point guards at various points over the last two seasons.
If the centers can stay off the trainer’s table, Sims will spend considerable time in Bridgeport as well.
The biggest question right now is whether or not Grimes, New York’s first-round pick, will go down for minutes. He’s the odd man out in the current guard-wing rotation, but he is one injury away from being thrust into a real role.
His only meaningful action came in a loss to the Cavaliers, where he played the entire fourth quarter and hit two threes. Although it’s unclear when or how it will happen, Grimes will find minutes somewhere this season.
The Knicks seem to have a plan for the youth, even if it is unfolding slowly.