Knicks second-year guard Allonzo Trier opened up about his need to increase his outside productivity—and it could dramatically improve his standing on the team, too.
On Monday, The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov penned an excellent piece on the New York Knicks detailing what some of their youngest players are working on this summer. It described what the likes of Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson are attempting to work on as they enter their second season as professional basketball players.
The most intriguing player was 6-foot-5 guard Allonzo Trier, however,. The second-year player is working on “harnessing his jumper,” according to Vorkunov. Trier offered a small anecdote from his coach before revealing that the Knicks made an effort to tell him to shoot more threes.
“It’s something Coach talked to me about,” he told The Athletic. “‘You shoot it so good.’ And the front office talked to me about I need to shoot more 3s off the catch, as soon as I can get it let it fly. They said you have such a beautiful stroke and shoot such a high percentage that you have to get more off so you can get — according to analytics, the more I get off and I shoot at a high percentage then it’ll be good for us. Not only myself but as a basketball team, so that’s one thing I’ve been focused on doing.”
For Trier and the Knicks, they could be right in pushing the guard’s range out to beyond the three-point line.
Last season, Allonzo Trier surprised everyone as an undrafted rookie, averaging 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 64 games. He had positive moments as a rookie, including scoring a career-high 31 points against the Houston Rockets. He also had some lows, including a spat with former teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. on a selfish play where Trier didn’t pass the ball, opting for a contested layup.
Despite the ups and downs, Trier played well enough to receive a two-year, $6 million contract from the Knicks midway through his rookie season. Now, as he enters his second season and a season away from restricted free agency, Trier is going to have to figure out his place on a revamped Knicks roster where minutes in the backcourt could be scarce to open the season.
Among his weaknesses is a sketchy shot selection. Last season, Trier finished with 39.4% shooting from three-point range but just 25% of his shot attempts were from beyond the arc. Cutting back on mid-range shots would do wonders for Trier’s career. While Trier shot nearly 40% on “the best shot in basketball,” he took a step inside the arc and shot 37.4% on shots from 17 to 25 feet.
There’s no need to completely eliminate the midrange from Trier’s skill set; rather, he should lower its value in his game. Last season, 17.6% of Trier’s shots from the middle of the floor and 11.8% came from within 10 to 16 feet. Trier will have to also improve at finishing at the rim—just 58.6% as a rookie.
But the biggest adjustment Trier could make in his offensive game is to cut back from the midrange and become more of a spot-up shooter. A shooting improvement would also help his standing in the rotation this upcoming season.
Last season, via Basketball-Reference, Trier played both backcourt positions and even small forward. As New York filled their frontcourt with talent this offseason, he’ll be relegated to play more shooting guard. With Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, and Dennis Smith Jr. all vying to operate and carry the offense, Trier would do wonders as a secondary piece to the offense—ideally, spotting up and offering generous spacing.
Trier has beaten the odds, going from an undrafted college player to a rookie contributor for one of the biggest franchises in the NBA. But in order for him to build upon his rookie success he will need to refine his strengths, while improving on his weaknesses.
His weaknesses—passing, defense—will improve with experience. Refining his shot selection is an ideal area for improvement, though, whether it elevates him into a starter, or even a consistent scoring threat off the bench.
The Knicks made an effort to improve their outside shooting by adding several guys who can launch it from beyond the arc. Including Trier into that mix would do wonders for his game, as well as the Knicks’ effort in modernizing their offensive attack.
Taking the summer, his first as a pro, to improve his outside shooting, is a positive step in the right direction.