Against the Odds, Allonzo Trier’s Early Emergence a Welcome Sight for the Knicks

    Allonzo Trier is making the most of his opportunity. The former Arizona standout has impressed during the start of his two-way contract with the New York

    October 25, 2018

    Allonzo Trier is making the most of his opportunity.

    The former Arizona standout has impressed during the start of his two-way contract with the New York Knicks, averaging 9.2 points per game and shooting 37.5 percent from deep. Trier was not picked in the 2018 NBA Draft, but appears to have found a home in New York.

    Trier was a lights-out scorer in his three seasons as a student-athlete in Tucson. He was dangerous at every level, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three-point range in his college career. Despite increasing his scoring average every year – reaching 18.0 points per game during his final season – Trier went undrafted. His well-documented troubles, including NCAA suspensions related to PED use, contributed to his draft stock crashing.

    But the Knicks took a chance on him, and in the NBA Summer League Trier continued to fill up the scoresheet. He averaged 17.0 points per game in four contests, including a 27-point effort against the LA Lakers.

     

    Trier teased what his game could evolve into with this performance. He displayed strong potential as an isolation player, but also made the right plays when teammates were in better spots to get a shot.

    The Knicks were an ideal situation for a young player like Trier looking to catch on with a team. New York is in a rebuilding situation, and there aren’t a lot of veterans eating up playing time. With Kristaps Porzingis recovering from a knee injury, new Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale is looking to play his younger players more often, which is a situation that Trier can take advantage of.

    Due to how two-way contracts are set up, Trier will only get 45 days with the Knicks before spending the rest of the season in the NBA G League. And if you’ve watched a second of the G League, you know scoring is the name of the game. Trier will have no issues lighting up the competition at that level, but he’ll have to improve in a few areas in order to stick around in the Association.

    The first area of concern is his distribution. Trier had a 17.4 percent assist rate in his final season at Arizona, which is great for a primarily scoring guard. But through five games, Trier’s assist rate with the Knicks is at 9.5 percent, according to basketball-reference.com. That number will have to go up if Trier hopes to draw significant interest this summer when his two-way deal expires.

    He’ll also have to continue to be smart with the ball. Trier is currently averaging 1.8 turnovers per game.

    Defense is another aspect in which Trier will need to improve on. He’s posting a 111 defensive rating, which is right around the league average. Trier’s offensive output was able to make up for his subpar defense at Arizona, but that won’t be the case in the NBA unless his scoring takes an astronomical jump.

    Trier will need to not only display his ability to read opposing offenses, but he’ll have to be able to guard both backcourt spots in switching situations. Fizdale values defense, so improving in that area will allow Trier to gain some brownie points and add value on the court.

    With the Knicks having plenty of high-scoring options on the roster – many with significant money tied to them – Trier will have to improve in these areas to stand apart.

    Time is another factor working against Trier. Since he has a limited chance to make an impact due to his two-way contract, there’s only so much of an impression he can make on the Knicks before eventually heading to the G League.

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