He wasn’t supposed to be here: an undrafted rookie out of the University of Arizona, Allonzo Trier has made a name for himself in under half a season in the NBA.
His rise in the league has been astonishing, beginning with his signature slam vs the Hawks in his first game in The Garden and first game in the NBA. Trier has captured the attention and gotten plenty of love from Knicks fans that love the aggression that he plays with, drawing comparisons to Knicks legend, John Starks. While it’s far too early to compare him to Starks, what Trier is doing is unprecedented, and while it’s been a fun journey so far, it hasn’t been without its ups and downs.
Trier took the league by storm right out of the gate, putting up impressive numbers while also playing a style that endeared himself to Knicks fans. Multiple times, he put up impressive stat lines including 23 points in a win at Dallas, 25 points, 8 boards, and 4 dimes in a win against the Pelicans, and a ridiculous 24 point, 10 rebound, and 7 assist game at Detroit. Efforts such as these, mixed in with his general consistency helped Trier earn an NBA contract when his 2 way deal, including a 45 day limit with the team was nearly over. Up to this point in the season, Trier is averaging 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, including 43.8% from the field, 37.5% from 3, and 80% from the line (basketballreference.com).
It hasn’t all been pretty for Iso-Zo however. Right after he secured his NBA deal, he injured his hamstring during warmups for the Charlotte game and missed the next 7 games, including that one. Upon his return, he has struggled mostly to regain his rhythm and efficiency that he had before his injury. His latest game at the Warriors gave hope that he shook off some of that rust, as he put up 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. But in the 7 games overall since he’s been back in the lineup, Trier’s numbers have dipped, as he’s averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 boards, 1.6 assists per game on a ghastly 30% from the field (16/53) and 30% from deep (basketballreference.com). Some may say this is cause for concern but let’s remember, he’s a rookie coming off injury and it takes time to get back into rhythm. In addition, teams aren’t surprised by him anymore, as his rise in the league has placed him on every teams scouting report. Now it’s up to Iso-Zo to adjust.
Knicks fans know that Iso-Zo can score, but the next part of his game everyone wants to see develop is his passing ability. Far too many times, his tunnel vision for the hoop causes him to miss open teammates who have a higher percentage shot. This is a normal evolution of a young player. Trier gets into the lane at ease, it’s just a matter of keeping his head up for an easy dime to someone, or developing his floater so that he doesn’t have to challenge the bigs at the rim every single time he gets in the lane. It’s something I’m sure the coaching staff points out during film sessions and his game will continue to evolve through the end of this season and next year if the Knicks organization chooses to pick up his option. As a young and affordable player that brings bench scoring, it would be surprising if he wasn’t back at this point.
In a recent article on bleacher report, they did a hypothetical redraft of this last year’s draft based on the performance of the players this season. Iso-Zo was listed as the 19th pick in a redraft. Truly amazing the impact that he’s had and the attention he has garnered league wide. He’s been given props from stars like Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant, praise usually not reserved for rookies. There will continue to be ups and downs for the second half of this season, as expected for a team and player this young. But from his shoe game, to on the court swagger, Iso-Zo is here to stay.