Part 15 of a series analyzing the New York Knicks.
On opening night in San Antonio, former Knicks coach David Fizdale decided to start RJ Barrett at point guard and Allonzo Trier at shooting guard. It was a stunning move at the time and an alignment that didn’t last more than that October night.
Fizdale says now he did it moreso to get Trier, who enjoyed a stellar rookie season, some minutes because of a massive glut at shooting guard.
“RJ at the point opening night was to try to get Zo on the court more,’’ Fizdale told The Post recently. “But ultimately we needed Elfrid [Payton] on the court to manage the team. It was more about the glut than [Trier].
The Rise and Fall of Trier was a riddle wrapped in an enigma during the 2019-20 campaign that is currently on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
By mid-November, the undrafted Arizona sniper fell out of the rotation completely and he never got back in.
Trier appeared in 24 games of 66 games — the odd man out in an overstuffed backcourt. When he did enter the game, it was mostly in garbage time.
It is likely Trier would have resurfaced if Fizdale wasn’t fired on Dec. 6. Interim coach Mike Miller never paid Trier any mind, preferring more defensive-oriented players with experience.
“Zo is an offensive talent who was improving at sharing the ball,’’ Fizdale said. “His position was deep — [Wayne] Ellington, [RJ] Barrett, [Damyean] Dotson, [Reggie] Bullock and some Frank [Ntilikina]. That’s six guys, counting Zo, that needed minutes at the shooting-guard position. How do you get him quality minutes?”
In training camp, Fizdale touted Trier as attempting to shed his “IsoZo’’ nickname — which also was his Twitter handle. The Post reported after last season some teammates being upset over Trier’s iso tendencies and on-court selfishness.
Former Knicks president Steve Mills still was quick to rip up his two-way contract amid his solid rookie season. Mills lavished the undrafted Trier with a two-year deal that allowed Trier to make $3.4 million in 2019-20.
Sources have indicated Trier’s defense was too suspect — not having a defined defensive position to guard. He will be a free agent this summer.
“He made young-guy mistakes on defense but nothing over-the-top bad,’’ said Fizdale, who is working with ESPN while awaiting his next coaching job.
“He had an incredible work ethic and matured as a teammate. If a team can slot him as a backup 2, you may get to see him be consistently effective because he’s tough and fearless.”
Trier made all the politically correct remarks about working on being a cheerleader on the bench and “honing his craft’’ in practice. But teammates knew he burned inside about the demotion.
On Feb. 26 in Charlotte, Trier single-handedly led a fiery fourth-quarter comeback after coming in cold. But he couldn’t sink the potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute of another loss.
“It’s been a long year for him being up and down and out of the rotation and then having an impact like that — that’s big,’’ Bobby Portis said that night.
The day before, in a rare interview, Trier said, “I like what I bring to the table.’’
⭐️Singer/Songwriter/Voice Talent/Actor/Media Personality⭐️
Born in Syracuse, NY. He holds a bachelor of science degree in communication from Florida Institute of Technology with specialization in technical writing, business, public relations, marketing, media, promotion, and aerospace engineering.
⭐️ Las Vegas Entertainer ⭐️ MTV uplaya Platinum Auddy Award Winner ⭐️ Southeastern FTTF Talent Champion ⭐️ Movies & TV ⭐️ Listed in ‘Who’s Who’ publication ⭐️ Voted ‘MOST MARKETABLE’: Sonic Records ⭐️ U.S. Veteran ⭐️