New York Knicks: Three players to watch against Pacers in Mike Miller’s debut

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks will welcome another new “era” of play on Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers. Who are the three players to watch?

After Friday’s practice, the New York Knicks fired coach David Fizdale after just 19 months on the job. A 4-18 record in 2019-20 resulted in this early dismissal, carrying on with the frustration president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry had in a November press conference.

There is a game to play on Saturday, however, as the Knicks face the Indiana Pacers at home. Mike Miller will begin as the interim coach, so there are plenty of unknowns for how the lineups will look. That throws the latest “players to watch for” in a loop. Nonetheless, these are the Knicks to follow at this beginning of another new “era” of play:

Allonzo Trier

Allonzo Trier has barely played for the past three weeks, but under Fizdale. Under a different coach, perhaps that changes as soon as this game against Indiana.

Wayne Ellington has garnered the backup shooting guard minutes. That much may stick. However, Damyean Dotson‘s finger injury from Thursday’s game could open the door for Trier, who was once a Fizdale favorite.

It may not mean ample minutes for the second-year pro from Arizona, but he deserves an opportunity to impress the new coach and shed “Iso-Zo” — a formerly popular nickname that has not held up well after 14 months.

Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton returned to action against the Nuggets, playing 11 minutes and turning the ball over four times. All three point guards, with Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. as the other two, played, but using all three seemed unlikely moving forward — before or after Fizdale’s firing.

Miller has a decision to make at each position in the rotation. Point guard might be the most interesting of the bunch, and with Payton’s recent comeback, how will he factor into the mix? For now, his biggest competition is Smith Jr., who has struggled mightily in his third season, including a dreadful 1-for-7 performance against Denver.

More from Knicks News

As Smith Jr.’s struggles continue, Payton could discover more playing time sooner than later, especially if Miller gives most of the roster a clean slate to start. Any vibe of that won’t be known until the action starts.

Julius Randle

Julius Randle‘s first 22 games with the New York Knicks have been underwhelming, to say the least. He’s a turnover machine, makes other questionable decisions and continues to take three-point shots that are out of his range.

Fizdale placed the ball in Randle’s hands frequently, often as a lead distributor. It never quite worked, so Miller has a task ahead: make the front office’s $62.3 million signing look better.

Next. Five potential replacements for David Fizdale. dark

It’s no easy task, as Randle’s brightest nights have been infrequent while maintaining a .442/.241/.661 slash line. But Miller could have a different plan for the Kentucky product’s usage, potentially making this an interesting subplot.