Rookie guards Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes look like guys who will push to get coach Tom Thibodeau’s tight rotation.
Late in the second quarter Monday night, McBride received an incoming pass under the hoop and thumped emphatically on Atlanta rookie point guard Sharife Cooper.
It was McBride’s signature moment for the night and his star’s summer league performance.
McBride and Grimes presented another gem to close the Las Vegas Summer League in style.
The West Virginia point guard came off the bench to score all 19 of his points in the first half, making 5 of 8 3-pointers (finishing the summer league 18 of 36), scoring four assists and playing his trademark hard defense as his college coach Bob Huggins came to Las Vegas to see.
Meanwhile, the Grimes called up 28 points as the Knicks sent Atlanta 104-85 to the Thomas & Mack Center to end their summer league season with a record of 4-2.
After a slow start, Grimes, the Knicks’ first round at number 25, exploded for 68 points in the last three games.
On Monday, the University of Houston product scored the game’s first nine points — all 3-pointers — and finished the summer league 22 of 54 from 3 (40.7 percent). In fact, Grimes carried out a possession of six points. He drilled a 3, was fouled, missed the free throw, but got the long rebound and made another from the center.
McBride poorly outclassed Cooper, the well-described Auburn star, whom the Knicks handed over four times in the draft. After McBride thumped on Cooper, the Hawks point guard dribbled downcourt, and McBride harassed him in an airball.
Cooper, who dropped to 48th in the draft, sat out the second half with what is said to be a stomach ache – or perhaps McBride Flu. A source told The Post that McBride also played Cooper in their Knicks training ground.
“That’s how I get my offensive going,” McBride said of his defense. “It really comes in, stops guys and gives energy to the team, and it gives me offensive opportunities.
“I thought I played well, but never satisfied, because that’s when your opponents catch up. I had a pretty solid summer league that came in to learn a whole new system. I did well in it, but many things to improve. ”
As one NBA scout said in Las Vegas, “He’s not scared at the moment and he’s playing on both sides. ”
Ironically, McBride and Grimes looked better on Monday than the Knicks 2020 rounds. Starting point guard Immanuel Quickley had another awful shooting night (3 out of 18, 3 out of 14 from 3, and finished only 12 out of 50 in Vegas) but got seven assists. Obi Toppin had the worst of his six games, holding on to 11 points (4 out of 12) and nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, Knicks rookie center Jericho Sims, who was selected 58th, looked wild again with 13 rebounds and six points, showing he could see some NBA time after signing a two-way G-League contract .