Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) dribbles during the first half...

Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Credit: AP/Peter K. Afriyie

CLEVELAND — Little more than two months ago, the Knicks traded away Immanuel Quickley and on the same day, provided Deuce McBride with a three-year contract extension — seemingly solidifying his role with the Knicks.

Yet despite his status as a favorite of Tom Thibodeau for his defensive mindset and tireless hustle, in the ensuing weeks the Knicks traded for another Thibodeau favorite, Alec Burks, and now are expected to officially add Shake Milton to the roster when he clears waivers Monday — both backcourt pieces to compete with McBride for minutes off the bench.

And McBride, who has finally begun to find his footing in his third season, shrugs off the additions and competition.

“Honestly, I really try not to worry about it,” McBride said after the Knicks morning shootaround at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse where he scored 16 points in the Knicks' 107-98 victory over the Cavaliers. “I think I can just do what I can do, work as hard I can. If my name is called, my name is called. Anything else really just doesn’t affect me.”

The role is to serve as a backup point guard to Jalen Brunson — a limited opportunity with Brunson willing to stay on the floor as long as he can — and also play alongside him at times. While the two newcomers — one already with the team and another on the way — have size and experience, McBride remains confident that he can handle whatever he is asked to do.

“I just knew my work would pay off,” McBride said. “And then opportunities opened up. I think I was able to just fit right in.”

“He’s been playing great,” Brunson said of McBride. “He’s taking full advantage of his opportunity. And the thing he’s been able to do has helped us. So yes he’s playing well, yes he’s taking advantage. I'm not sure what his plus-minus is. When he’s out there, he’s making things go.”

McBride played less than 10 minutes a game and appeared in less than half of the games as a rookie after being selected in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft. He upped that to 64 games and 11.9 minutes per game last season, but still struggled to prove himself. He's  a defensive asset, pestering opposing guards for 94 feet, but offensively he still was finding his way. McBride is shooting 29.9% from three after shooting 25% as a rookie.

This season he sat in 13 of the first 31 games. But once Quickley was traded and he got the contract, McBride has appeared in every game and averaged 18.9 minutes. He is shooting 39.7% from three and averaging 8.8 points per game.

In eight games since Burks joined the Knicks he and McBride have played almost identical minutes (19.3 minutes for McBride to 17.9 for Burks). McBride’s shooting has dipped in this eight-game span, but Burks has struggled, too, in his second run with the Knicks. Burks has yet to provide the offensive stability or match the defense of McBride in this turn.

“I think in today’s game, he’s a guard,” Thibodeau said of McBride. “I like the versatility. I like using Jalen that way, as well. So I think they play off each other really well, and I think Alec does the same thing. And that was one of the big reasons why we picked up Alec, because we knew he could play handling the ball and then play off the ball, as well.”

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months