Undrafted guard Allonzo Trier has a shot at making the 15-man New York Knicks roster and being a valuable asset off the bench.
Allonzo Trier has New York Knicks fans’ collective attention. The former Arizona Wildcat scored 25 points off the bench on Wednesday night, in the Knicks’ 107-102 preseason win over the Brooklyn Nets. Trier was 8-of-12 from the field and took eight trips to the free throw line. Even better, he only took three attempts from three-point range in 26 minutes.
It was quite the build off of Trier’s first preseason performance when he scored 13 points against the Washington Wizards.
Simply put, Trier is in a position to be a valuable asset off the Knicks’ bench. The team isn’t going to make the playoffs by any stretch of the imagination, but Trier’s electric style of play provides plenty of hope for the future.
Make no mistake, Knicks fans. The hype surrounding Allonzo Trier is real.
A top prospect
Trier went unselected in the 2018 NBA Draft, but he actually entered Arizona as a highly touted recruit. Trier was not only a McDonald’s All-American but also a five-star recruit. He played high school ball at Nevada’s Findlay College Prep, the alma mater of many an NBA player including Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley.
Trier’s development continued when he arrived at Arizona with a bang. He averaged 14.8 points per game and shot 46.6% from the field. Trier missed seven games with a broken hand, but the Wildcat was out of the bag. This was a special player.
The Allonzo Trier Show continued his sophomore season when he averaged 17.2 points per game and showed marked improvement with his three-point shooting. However, Trier also missed 19 games because of a PED suspension, putting a black mark on his great work on the court. His junior year was tainted by another suspension, though he did average 18 points per game.
Born to be a Knick?
PED suspensions are nothing to sneeze at, but the Knicks clearly did their research on Trier. Moreover, the interest appeared to be mutual. Shortly after the NBA Draft, Trier signed a two-way contract with the Knicks as an undrafted free agent. This means whether he’s on the main roster or with the G League’s Westchester Knicks, his salary will not change.
Trier later added that he and his management team basically planned this all along. After the Knicks opted to take big man Mitchell Robinson with their second-round pick, Trier’s team told all remaining teams they weren’t interested.
Now, let’s recap what we have so far. Allonzo Trier is a talented shooting guard who excelled at a major collegiate program, despite some bumps in the road. Those bumps affected his draft stock, but he was so committed to the Knicks and betting on himself that he told other teams not to bother drafting him in Round 2? And he wants to play for a Knicks team that won’t even sniff the playoffs this year, maybe the year after?
I don’t know about the rest of you, Knicks fans, but you can sign me right up for that. Trier has a special fire in him. Rather than focusing on rings like many top players do in this era of superteams, he just wants to play. That he wants to do so with the long-suffering New York Knicks makes him all the more endearing.
Even if he comes off the bench, there’s no doubt the team has a special player in Trier.
What's his role?
That leads to the next question: what is Allonzo Trier’s role with the Knicks? Granted, coach David Fizdale hasn’t committed to adding him to the 15 man roster, but how can he not? Trier has looked strong through two preseason games and has three more to prove his worth. If he continues playing at the pace he has, New York would be cheating itself by stashing him in the G League.
The answer is complicated. The Knicks have a number of guards on the roster, but Tim Hardaway Jr. is probably their best option at the 2. If rookie Kevin Knox impresses enough over the final three games, he could be the starting small forward while Hardaway sticks at shooting guard.
However, what if Knox too is relegated to the bench? New York could stick Hardaway at the 3 and have a hole at shooting guard. Sure, veteran Courtney Lee could fill that hole, but he’s more of a three-and-D than a scoring guard. He is also dealing with a neck injury. That leaves starting two point guards as an option, which may not be in the Knicks’ best interest.
A lot depends on how the rest of the preseason goes, but there is no reason to believe Trier could not handle a starting job. At the same time, he could be just as valuable as a spark off the bench.
For this writer’s money, however, it’s probably best to initially use him as a reserve. In, let’s say, 20-25 minutes a game off the bench, Trier can get accustomed to top NBA competition as opposed to just preseason rosters. If he handles that role well, depending on where Knox’s development is, then there can be a discussion about making him a starter.
Allonzo Trier wants to be a New York Knick. He has not been shy about that. He deserves his shot, and the results will speak for themselves.