Allonzo Trier is one of the feel-good stories in the NBA this season.
Monday, he made his first start, playing 42 minutes in a 116-115 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. Trier had 21 points on 15 shots, going toe-to-toe with Zach LaVine down the game’s final stretch, before missing a shot at the buzzer.
Take a look at Trier’s highlights:
That came just a few nights after Trier scored a career-high 23 points against the Dallas Mavericks — in just 24 minutes no less. More impressive: he only took 10 shots. The game before that he had 14 points on seven shots.
In his last five games, Trier is averaging 15.8 points per contest, shooting 60 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Trier is playing like a Top 15 pick, and the Knicks front office found him as a free agent the day after the draft. Scott Perry and Steve Mills deserve credit for identifying him as someone the Knicks should make a priority as a free agent. Craig Robinson and the player development department deserve credit for getting him to play this well.
No one deserves more credit than Trier, who is taking advantage of the additional space on a NBA floor, and showing everyone he is more suited to the pro game than the college game. How good can he be? An eventual starter? Very realistic. A good starter? Possible. A 20 point a game scorer one day? It is not out of the question. Trier can score. He is for real. The Knicks found him as an undrafted free agent. Perhaps this new Knicks era will be different after all.
Wizards star guard Bradley Beal had some praise for Trier at the end of this clip:
“It’s crazy because he does remind me of myself, except he might be even a lot more aggressive coming into the league than I was,” Beal said. “He has a huge chip on his shoulder and the sky is the limit for him. It’s crazy to think he was undrafted. That’s disrespectful with the way he’s playing.”
Trier has an interesting contract situation. His two-way deal means he is only allowed to spend 45 days with the Knicks this season, which he will quickly reach if he is playing like this. The rest of the time he will have to spend in the G League.
The Knicks could sign Trier to a full-blown NBA rookie contract, but that would require opening an additional roster spot to accommodate. In other words, they would have to cut someone from their NBA roster. (Two-way players have provisional roster spots).
But at this point, that’s probably worth it. Trier looks like the real deal.