It’s anyone’s guess as to who the Rockets will take with two first round picks in the twenties for the NBA Draft in less than two weeks’ time.
As a rebuilding team, the Rockets don’t have a specific need to fill nor do they have a set target. After the top tier of athletes are drafted in the Top 5, the draft opens up and the range players go through increases tenfold.
And with two picks, it doubles the chances any of these first-round picks could come to Houston.
We spoke with Matt Waskey (@mattwaskey) at our sister site Smoking Musket to break down the draft profile of West Virginia guard Miles “Deuce” McBride, one of the biggest sleepers in this draft class.
1) Why should the Rockets, or any team for that matter, draft Miles McBride later this month?
He is a competitor and a natural leader. He has the intangible ‘drive’ that you can’t teach a young basketball player. He overcame adversity to play college basketball after suffering a broken ankle late in his prep career. We have seen that work ethic pay off with vast improvements in his game since he first put on the Mountaineer Gold and Blue.
More than anything, I think you can count on him being the hardest worker in this draft class - which is something you see as part of a Bob Huggins-player DNA.
2) What are McBride’s biggest strengths?
He is a natural defender. His instincts on defense are just better than everyone else. He may not be Jevon Carter defensively, it’s not a stretch to say he is the best on-ball defender in the draft.
His offensive is an evolving strength. His outside shot greatly improved for his sophomore campaign and he has the ability to create his own shot.
3) What are his biggest weaknesses?
Without a doubt being a true point guard is his biggest weakness.
We see progress in his ability to be a floor general, but he is still a scorer playing point guard as opposed to a point guard who can score.
That skill set probably bodes well for him in to today’s NBA, but if he is going to consistently run the show for an NBA team he will need some more seasoning running an offense.
He understands being a leader, now he just has to perfect being a point guard first.
4) What NBA player would you compare McBride to?
This is going to seem lofty but I think Kyle Lowry is probably a good comparison.
Deuce will be a late first round pick, just like Lowry was out of Villanova in 2006 (Memphis, Round 1/ Pick 24). So like Lowry did then, McBride will have a chip on his shoulder with something to prove.
McBride is a little bigger than Lowry but they have similar motors and offensive abilities. Lowry is a guy who also had to really learn to be a point guard so the comparison makes sense.
The thing that is completely different is McBride is completely coachable out of the gate. If you look at Lowry’s career, he had some serious growing pains that I wouldn’t anticipate from Deuce McBride.
Previous generational comparison: Dennis Johnson, Chauncey Billups
5) What are his projections at the NBA level? How do you think his career will fare?
The sky is the limit for Miles McBride. If he continues to improve, gets the opportunity and stays healthy, he has a chance to be a multi-time all-star in the NBA.
At worst he is eventually a good starter/first guy off the bench who is the ‘glue guy’ on some really good teams (and probably wins a couple of championships).
The other thing about him is he could be the draft night surprise for someone. He is exactly the type of player that is projected to go at pick 24 but someone falls in love with and shocks the world and picks him 5-10 picks higher.
6) Do you know where the nickname “Deuce” comes from?
His older brother is nicknamed Trey because he is Walter McBride III and Deuce was the second child, so his dad nicknamed him “Deuce”. So they had Trey and Deuce.