Allonzo Trier had a terrific rookie campaign, but he and the Knicks aren’t satisfied with a solid debut, and it appears as though Trier is planning to significantly increase his diet of three-point shots as the team tries to improve upon the worst season in franchise history.
The news comes via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who reported that Knicks brass has challenged Trier to become more of a volume three point shooter after a season in which he hit 52 of 132 trifectas, equivalent to 39.4%. For those non-aristocratic readers without a subscription to the The Athletic, SNY’s Ian Begley did a pretty darn good job summing up all this Trier talk.
Allonzo Trier is spending the summer harnessing his 3-point shot after Knicks coaches and front office told him he should shoot more. What are Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Kadeem Allen doing this summer to get better? A story on all that: https://t.co/uXoU7pvhqc pic.twitter.com/zSP97EFmmj— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) July 30, 2019
Trier’s three-point percentage from last year is impressive — it was higher than that of James Harden and Damian Lillard, to pick two players completely at random for a comparison. Of course, each of those guys shoot far more than the paltry 3.3 threes per contest that Trier averaged during his rookie year, which brings us back to the matter at hand:
Trier has been working on The Steve Novak Specialty (three pointers) so he can launch them at will next season.
“It’s something Coach talked to me about,” Trier said in The Athletic story. “‘You shoot it so good.’ And the front office talked to me about [how] 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.”
The idea of Trier upping his trey count while maintaining his stroke is tantalizing. How do you stop a guy who has both snazzy handles and a knockdown three-point shot? Add a couple more threes made per game to Trier’s stat line and suddenly he’s easily averaging 16 or 17 points a game, if not approaching 20, depending on how his general development goes.
For the record, Trier played 64 games last season and averaged roughly 11 points in 23 minutes per contest while adding 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Also for the record, he was an undrafted rookie.
Meanwhile, the Knicks could really use some additional shooting. The team was third to last in the league last year in three point percentage, shooting a collective 33.9%, ahead of only the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. In terms of overall threes attempted, the Knicks were 23rd in the NBA, and the team was 26th in threes made. Improvement is not just necessary, it’s vital.
The team has attempted to address these three point shooting woes, including by signing Reggie Bullock (39% from beyond the arc for his career) and Wayne Ellington (38% for his career), not to mention Bobby Portis (he shot 40% from deep last season) or Marcus Morris (37.5% last year, 36% for his career).
The new additions should help the Knicks avoid last season’s complete futility, but if the team is going to advance beyond being near the bottom of the NBA totem pole, some of the guys that have stuck around are going to need to step up. There is certainly potential for Trier to be one of those players, and a good place to start is by becoming better at the shot type that provides for the most points.