The New York Knicks finished with the worst record in the NBA, but it wasn’t a totally lost season.
Rookies like Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox showed they have the potential to be valuable building blocks moving forward.
Knox (10.9 ppg) and Trier (10.8 ppg) finished eighth and ninth among rookies in scoring, while Robinson was highly-efficient (69.4 FG%) on offense and tremendous defensively, averaging 2.4 blocks per game.
Trier’s breakout was particularly a feel-good story because he went undrafted and played his way into a two-year, $7 million contract after initially signing a two-way contract.
“His play on the court was cancerous,” one NBA source told the Post. “A lot of guys didn’t like the way he didn’t play team ball. He cared about himself too much. He looked guys off who were open.’’
The Post detailed a few times teammates were fed up with Trier.
During a Nov. 27 game in Detroit, Trier brought the ball up the court with Trey Burke all alone ahead. Trier didn’t throw it ahead for the easy layup. Instead, Trier barreled toward the basket.
While he drew a foul, players on the bench yelled at Trier, scolded him for not feeding Burke, who held his palms up, shaking his head after the whistle.
The more publicized incident occurred Jan. 23, when Tim Hardaway Jr. chewed out Trier on the court after Trier failed to pass to him on a two-on-one fast break with Hardaway open on the left.
Another NBA source familiar with the situation said when players would choose sides for pickup games before or after practice, he often was one of the last chosen. The Knicks players wanted to play with guys who passed to the open man.
Trier is not shy about having a shoot-first mentality. His Twitter handle is @ISO_ZO and he recently wore a shirt with a picture of himself on it that read “Shoot First Mafia.”
And while Trier did have impressive scoring numbers for a rookie — he posted an efficient shooting line of .448/.394/.803 — it is easy to see how that kind of mindset would rub teammates the wrong way.
Especially since the Knicks went 17-65 and Trier did not make much of an impact in other area of the game, averaging just 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per 36 minutes, and a defensive box plus-minus of -2.0, one of the worst marks on the team.
Then again, the Knicks finished with the worst offensive efficiency in the league, so it’s hard to pin their problems on him.