Although the New York Knicks couldn’t pull off the comeback in Charlotte, Allonzo Trier emerged as a significant bright spot.
As is tradition, playing time is dominating the conversation around the post-All-Star break New York Knicks. This happens every year so no one should be surprised.
Allonzo Trier, once an afterthought on this Knicks squad, is inserting himself back into the conversation. On Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets, Trier put up 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting to help the Knicks climb back into the game. Of course, it was yet another fake Knicks comeback, but Trier’s performance is notable.
For one, all 16 of his minutes came in the second half. The Knicks were having trouble scoring and that’s one thing Trier can do in his sleep. For all his warts, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard is a walking bucket. At times, this can lead him to play with blinders on, but when interim head coach Mike Miller needed a burst of life, Trier was there to deliver.
“We have a lot of guys we can play,’’ Miller said per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “[Trier’s] been sharp since he came back, used his [All-Star] break and really worked on his game. We had a real need for him. We went down our lineup. We gave guys opportunity and we felt like we needed scoring, shooting and playmaking.”
Following the game, Trier was asked if it’s difficult to heat up after sitting for the first half.
“Absolutely. You got to come in and catch the flow,” Trier said. “Sometimes you don’t and you look bad. You got to be a pro. … It was great to be running around being in the game. I’ve played my whole life to be in this position.”
Trier’s standout showing against the Hornets should be enough to push him back into the rotation. He won’t usurp RJ Barrett as the Knicks’ starting shooting guard, but he’s earned minutes on the second unit.
The Knicks can even experiment with Barrett in some different roles. With the ongoing injury woes to the point guards, Barrett can flex to point guard in short spurts. Additionally, the Knicks should utilize him at the three spot when they’re looking to play smaller lineups.
Outside of Barrett, no one is staking a strong claim on the backup minutes. Over his last 11 games, Reggie Bullock is shooting below 36% from the floor and just 34.1% from three.
Maurice Harkless is playing more small forward than shooting guard, but he’s another wing who hasn’t done much. The Queens native is still acclimating himself to New York after arriving via the Marcus Morris Sr. trade.
For whatever reason, Damyean Dotson has fallen out of the rotation once again. Although there’s a case to be made for Dotson in the regular rotation, Miller has been hesitant to commit to him.
Wayne Ellington has a wealth of experience and has been a consistent three-point threat throughout his career. However, in New York, an early shooting slump and inconsistent minutes have made him a non-factor for much of the year.
And Kevin Knox, well, Knox is not a shooting guard. Miller and former head coach David Fizdale have tried the lanky forward out at the two, but he doesn’t have the quickness to defend guards. Experimenting should be encouraged in these final months, but there’s enough film on Knox at the two to know it’s not the right fit.
So with all these lackluster options in mind, why shouldn’t Trier have another chance? An old Fizdale motto was “keep what you kill.” Now, Miller hasn’t uttered that phrase since taking over, but he would be wise to remember the words of his predecessor.