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Miles McBride Has Been Unstoppable Since Attending the Dune: Part Two Premiere

Photographs: Getty Images, Everett Collection; Collage: Gabe Conte

If you’ve been following the New York Knicks this season, you know the team has experienced a few major turning points. Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle got injured—but opened the door for cult hero Isaiah Hartenstein. They traded for Precious Achiuwa and OG Anunoby at the deadline—and promptly saw Anunoby also fall to injury. Heck, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart even started a podcast. But perhaps the most striking development is happening right before our eyes.

On February 25, guard Miles “Deuce” McBride attended the premiere of Dune: Part Two in New York. And as Twitter user @doinkpatrol pointed out, he’s been going absolutely crazy since that fateful night. In 44 games prior to the premiere—at which, we should mention, McBride looked spectacular—he was averaging six points a night and shooting (an admittedly very strong) 40.2% on three-pointers. Pretty standard second-string numbers. But in the 11 games since, he’s skyrocketed to 10.5 points per game while knocking down an absurd 45.1% of his threes. For context, Steph Curry, the greatest shooter ever, owns a career three-point percentage of 42.6%. The box-office moment came on Monday night in San Francisco when McBride dropped a career-high 29 points, cashing in six trey balls while hounding Curry on defense all night. It was, by a fairly wide margin, the best game of his young career. It even earned him a shout out from Ben Stiller, one of the Fremen of Knicks’ fan kingdom, so to speak.

How did this happen? Let’s start with this: we’re not entirely sure why or how McBride was invited to the premiere. That is not meant to disparage the 23-year-old, who is in his third season with the Knicks and is a very solid player. It’s just, he’s the backup point guard—a guy who averages 15 minutes of playing time per game, and not exactly a household name, is what we’re saying. But since walking the sand-colored carpet that day, he has become Lisan Al Gaib.

We can only assume that the extra spice in his game came from the awe-inspiring sensory experience that is Dune 2. (The 2 is, obviously, Denis Villeneuve’s homage to both McBride’s nickname and his jersey number.) The three-week heater he’s currently riding like a sand worm includes seven games scoring in double figures—in the roughly four months before seeing Timmy and Zendaya on the big screen, he had 11 such performances—and a game against the Hawks on March 5 where he tied his career-high with nine assists.

Worm\! Worm\! Worm\!
Worm\! Worm\! Worm\!

Wait a second—the sandworms *make the spice*?

Other standouts from his post-Dune game log are a 16-point outburst in a win at Cleveland, a convincing victory against Orlando in which he went 3-for-3 from deep, and a jaunt in Portland during which the Knicks outscored the Blazers by 13 points when McBride was on the floor. This is the exact type of stretch that energizes a team during the post All-Star break dog days. It also probably sets up McBride for more playing time in the future and a guaranteed spot in the team’s playoff rotation. It simply cannot be a coincidence that all of this happened after he immersed himself in the cinematic event of the year.

Thursday night will be a tough test for McBride, as the Knicks face off against the defending champion Denver Nuggets. With the mile-high altitude in Denver providing maybe the NBA’s closest facsimile to Arrakis—at least in terms of singular and trying physical conditions—Deuce will need to continue drinking the water of life to lead the Knicks to paradise.

Originally Appeared on GQ