New York Knicks: Will Allonzo Trier’s role grow in his second season?

New York Knicks Allonzo Trier (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Allonzo Trier (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Is Allonzo Trier in a position to take another step forward with the New York Knicks?

The New York Knicks will have many new faces this year through signings in free agency or the draft. One constant is Allonzo Trier, who had a surprisingly stellar first year after the Knicks signed him following the 2018 NBA draft. An NBA contract worth $7 million resulted, which is the richest a two-way player has signed.

With a good first year, though, what can the Knicks expect from the Arizona product in Year Two? What role will he play?

Last year Trier fit in with the NBA game, with his ability to take his man off the dribble and get to the free throw line. He finished tied for first on the team at 3.5 free throw attempts a game, while just playing 22.8 minutes a game. He averaged 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds while being instant offense for the Knicks off the bench.

2019-20 will be tricky for Trier, as he may struggle to exceed what he did last year because the Knicks have added more talent to the backcourt. With the logjam in the backcourt between Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and even RJ Barrett possibly stealing minutes in the backcourt, on-court time will be difficult find for Trier. That could change if a trade happens or injuries pile up.

The clear path for Trier to get minutes is with his defense. Last year, the Knicks averaged 3.4 more points per a 100 possessions with him on the bench. The 23 year old was a defensive specialist in college, and that has translated to the NBA.

For Trier to stay on the court he has to become better playing off the ball. As a rookie he attempted 2.1 threes and made 39.4 percent of them. He also needs to continue to be confident with his perimeter shot as he will be asked to play with guys like Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett, each of whom will dominate the ball.

If Trier improves that, head coach David Fizdale will have no reason to play Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington or Reggie Bullock over him and may be comfortable having Trier out there with Smith or Payton in the backcourt.

Realistically, once the dust settles and the trade deadline passes, there will be a clearer picture of Trier’s role with this team, with a sixth-man ceiling or a floor of just depth on the roster.

With the way this group has been constructed, Trier will be asked to play more off the ball, which is not his strength. His future will be decided on how comfortable he becomes with playing off the ball and make perimeter shots.

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Trier will struggle to find minutes, but once the February deadline passes, expect him to take on a sixth man role for the New York Knicks and provide some punch off the bench.