New York Knicks: Bruce Pearl sings Jared Harper’s praises

Bruce Pearl

The New York Knicks recently acquired point guard Jared Harper off waivers from the Phoenix Suns, subsequently releasing guard Kadeem Allen. In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said that Harper, a three-year player at Auburn, was courted by the Knicks in the 2019 NBA Draft process and that he would’ve been a first-round pick if he returned for his senior season.

“I talked to a number of Knicks scouts when Jared was here at Auburn,” Pearl said. “They had a lot of interest in him when we were making the run to The Final Four. They were one of the teams he thought he’d play for in the summer league.”

“If Jared was a senior he would’ve absolutely, without question, been drafted in the first round this year. They’re getting a first-round talent.”

Harper played for the Suns’ G-League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, this season. He averaged 20.2 points, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game across 34 contests.

Pearl thinks Harper will welcome the opportunity to play for the Knicks and that he doesn’t need to spend another season in the G-League.

“I think he actually will decide to sign with the Knicks because he sees the opportunity,” Pearl said. “Even if they get (LaMelo) Ball in the draft, he would complement them really well. Those guys can score as well as run a team.

“I don’t think he needs another G League season. If you want fast, if you want someone who can pull up (for a jumper) as soon as he crosses the eight-second line and you’re willing to let him score? He’s really hard to guard and he can play-make.”

Pearl thinks Harper, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, is effective within his frame.

“When you’re the smallest guy on the floor, you have to have an edge,” Pearl said. “He’s got an edge Isiah (Thomas) had and Muggsy Bogues had. He’s got a toughness to him defensively.

“You can try to go down there and post him up. The challenge is his size. He’s got really long arms and he’s really tough. He’s hard to take advantage of. He knows how to use his quick feet. He’ll make plays defensively.”

Harper averaged 13.5 points, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game across his three seasons at Auburn. The Knicks point guard rotation currently includes Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton, who has a $8 million team option for the 2020-21 NBA season.

How The New York Knicks can salvage Allonzo Trier’s future with the team

New York Knicks, Allonzo Trier

New York Knicks’ guard Allonzo Trier was one of the few great stories to watch unfold last season. The undrafted rookie played his way onto the team and ended the season averaging just under 23 minutes a game in 64 games played. This season, the Knicks guard has completely disappeared from the rotation, and many expect him to land with another team next year. How can Trier rekindle his rookie year magic and be a part of the Knicks’ future?

Trier’s nickname “Iso-Zo” can be used as both a compliment and a knock on his game. He has proven he can do one thing effectively: score. Trier can generate instant offense with his ball-handling and perimeter shooting.

However, his knack to hold the ball has led to “ball-hog” labels from fans. Trier’s tendency to play hero-ball, especially as an undersized guard, can hamper an offense’s cohesiveness. The dilemma here is that the Knicks are a team deprived of offense, and Trier is one of the few who can create it for himself.

Clearly, throwing Trier into the back of the rotation like they have this past season is no way to develop a young player. Trier may be an isolation player, but he shoots the ball effectively. His field goal percentage on the year is 48%. If the Knicks do resign Trier, I think he can thrive in a limited role off of the bench.

Utilizing Small-Ball

The Knicks will look to bolster their group guards this offseason. Many teams around the league use scoring guards off of the bench to give their team an offensive boost while their starters sit.

Trier can be exactly that. He would be an intriguing option at guard when sharing the floor with other playmakers.

Having Trier play alongside Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Frank Ntilikina and other potential newly acquired guards in different small-ball lineups could create headaches for opposing defenses due to Trier’s speed and shooting. Playing Trier at the 2 may be a defensive liability, but it could prove to be beneficial for the Knicks if they used him in spurts.

Not every young player needs to be a franchise cornerstone. A lot of them, like Trier, can still produce quality minutes in a limited role.

The New York Knicks want to improve their offense next season with shooters. Hopefully, they can incorporate one of their best, already rostered shooters into their future.

Report: New York Knicks’ Allonzo Trier was effectively left behind this season, but why?

New York Knicks, Allonzo Trier

The New York Knicks were a mess this season, using strange variations of their roster to find successful combinations.

There were times early on in the 2019-20 season that Knicks’ former head coach David Fizdale started RJ Barrett at the point guard position and others where he featured Elfrid Payton. All of these combinations essentially put Allonzo Trier in a bind, forcing him to the bench and cutting his playing time in half from his rookie campaign. All of his statistical totals took a major hit with Fizdale operating as the head coach, and he attempted to give an explanation, according to the NY Post.

“RJ at the point opening night was to try to get Zo on the court more,’’ Fizdale told The Post. “But ultimately we needed Elfrid [Payton] on the court to manage the team. It was more about the glut than [Trier].

The backcourt for the Knicks was completely overwhelmed with options and Trier ultimately was left behind, playing in just 24 of 66 games this stalled campaign.

“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?”

As a three-point specialist, Trier was in a long line to earn reps, and he could benefit next season with a new head coach and fewer competitors to deal with. He’s a solid sixth-man with a tenacious defensive approach and quality isolation move. His shooting prowess is what made him an exciting young prospect for the Knicks, coming into the NBA as an undrafted player out of Arizona.

His mistakes were relatively minor and fixable, Fizdale expressed, which is a great sign for a team in need of elevated talent and growth.

New York Knicks now need to give Allonzo Trier more minutes

New York Knicks, Allonzo Trier

Now that the New York Knicks season is basically over, it’s time to play the youth.  Despite what interim head coach Mike Miller says, they aren’t playing them nearly enough,  Allonzo Trier included.

Before the last two games, Trier wasn’t seen in a game since January 18th against Philadelphia.  Many Knicks fans have speculated the cause for the absence of play.  It could be that his defense continues to fall short of NBA standards.

Even if the season had promise, he should getting time regardless of his defensive capabilities.  The Knicks season can’t get any worse, literally.

This whole notion that the veteran players still need to be playing for a playoff push is nuts anymore.  The chances of the Knicks making the playoffs are no more.  Therefore, it’s time to play the youth, for the millionth time, and that includes Trier.

Trier remained a constant professional throughout the entire time he didn’t step on the court.  He was humble and hungry, waiting for the time that his name was finally called.  The Knicks could’ve used his services, greatly, during his stint on the bench.

Trier finally enter a game Monday in Houston getting 6 minutes of garbage time but made the best of it.  Going 3-4 from the field with 9 points.  Then last night in Charlotte, when the game was getting out of hand, he enter in the third quarter.  Trier basically brought the Knicks back and almost tied the game up with his shooting performance.

Trier ended up with 15 points on 6-8 from the field.  He missed a game tying shot but his confidence remains.  That shows his determination to gain more minutes, which is what the Knicks need more of.

The New York Knicks need to figure it out when the comes to a rotation.  And by rotation, we mean playing the younger players.  Playing veteran players aren’t going to do any good now, it’s only hurting the development of everyone else, especially Trier.

The New York Knicks aren’t developing their youth

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks have had many organizational issues over the last decade. These include front office mismanagement, a revolving door at head coach, and an inability to develop young players. The Knicks are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference at 20 games below .500. They are in line to finish as the 6th worst team in the NBA. Not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to have great lottery odds. We’ve seen this story before.

The Knicks are neglecting their draft picks.

Take Kevin Knox, the 8th overall pick of the 2018 draft as an example. In 2018, Playing alongside a barren roster, Knox managed to earn NBA Rookie of the month for December and a spot in the Rising Stars Game.

What is Knox up to in his 2nd season? He is currently averaging  18.4 minutes per game, 28th among sophomores. You read that correctly. The 8th overall pick from a year ago is 28th in minutes played amongst his draft class peers.

When the Knicks traded Marcus Morris at the deadline, it was an opportunity for younger players to take his minutes. In the three games since Morris has been traded, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Dennis Smith rank 9th, 10th, and 11th on the team in minutes per game, respectively. Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson have been DNPs. Iggy Brazdeikis and Kenny Wooten are stuck in the G League. Taj Gibson and Wayne Ellington have seen more minutes in those games.

With this roster, development is far more critical than a few wins. Knicks fans don’t want to see Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton lead the team to victory a few times a month. They want to see the “Baby Knicks” get playing time. They want to see a youth movement.

New York Knicks trade deadline rumors starting to heat up

New York Knicks, Bobby Portis

The New York Knicks have a lot of trade rumors circulating.  For the most part, it appears that the Knicks are willing to trade everyone except RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

Last night, the Knicks defeated the Cavaliers, 139-134 , to win their second straight game.  However, all the attention was on the players on the trading block.  This was the last game for Mike Miller to showcase the veteran players before the trade deadline.

The deadline is this Thursday at 3pm EST.

NBA Trade Deadline Rumors

D’Angelo Russell

Again, the Knicks have made it clear that everyone is available for a trade except Barrett and Robinson.  The Knicks are linked to D’Angelo Russell.  They’ve, allegedly, offered Bobby Portis, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier and a 2nd second pick.

That is way to much to give up for Russell.  The Warriors didn’t seem to like that package and, allegedly, want Mitchell Robinson added in deal, along with a 1st round pick.  The Knicks should’ve been trying to get the restricted free-agent last summer.  And now, he’s making over 27 million a season.  But, that’s the Knicks for you.  At least, they don’t want to part with their 1st round picks, for now.

Julius Randle 

The Charlotte Hornets have been reported to have interest in Randle.  This comes after the Knicks always seem linked to Malik Monk around the deadline.  ‘Scary’ Terry Rozier has been reported to be in the deal, another point guard to add to the roster.  Rozier is like Randle but at the guard position.

Speaking of point guards, the Knicks have interest in Thunder’s Dennis Schroeder.  The Knicks continue to search for that everyday point guard, which they don’t have.

Marcus Morris and Bobby Portis

The New York Knicks have been trying to get rid of Portis rather than Marcus Morris.  Morris said that he wants to help the young players and be a Knick for the long-term.  However, his trade value has never been higher considering this is his best offensive season.

The Knicks have strong feelings that they would be able to re-sign the free agent Morris this off-season.  However, he’s going to be 31-years old and not getting younger.  The Knicks need to think about how his leadership was this season and consider their options.

With the Knicks off until Thursday night, the team could look very different come 7:30 pm against the Magic.  The Magic have interest in acquiring Dennis Smith Jr., who wants out of New York.  With his strong performance last night, he very well could be on the way.

However, as we all know, this is the Knicks.  There will be all of this noise about trades and nothing will happen or they will do something out of left field that gets fans scratching their heads.

New York Knicks: What’s Allonzo Trier’s Trade Value?

New York Knicks, Allonzo Trier

New York Knicks shooting guard Allonzo Trier currently is buried on the bench. The 23-year-old is only averaging 12.8-minutes per game during the 2019-20 NBA season. In the little amount of playing time, his field goal percentage is currently at .493 while averaging 6.9-points per game. Trier’s three-point field goal percentage is currently at .385. His efficiency on paper nodes well for his trade value. Therefore, there’s minimal interest around the league regarding Allonzo Trier along with his expiring $3.5 million dollar contract which allows him to be a restricted free agent in June 2020.

Some sources around the league believe the Knicks could net a distant future second-rounder for Allonzo Trier. A few aspects are hurting Trier’s value, however. Those aspects are his playing time and his high turnover rate for the minimal minutes he’s played this season at 1.2 turnovers per game in 12.8 minutes.

The New York Knicks are hoping last season won’t go unnoticed in terms of Allonzo Trier’s potential. Last season under prior coach David Fizdale, Trier was a scoring machine at times. The Seattle native has a knack for scoring the basketball. Trier is still learning NBA level defense and ball distribution within an offense. The talented 23-year -old scoring machine still has some learning to do when it comes to other aspects of his game.

Overall, the New York Knicks will definitely listen to offers made for Trier. Don’t be surprised if Mike Miller and staff decide to showcase the former Arizona Wildcat a few more times before the trade deadline in order to raise his value.

It’s time for the New York Knicks to only play the young guys

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The 2019-20 New York Knicks season has quickly gone down the drain.  It began with a lot of optimism of making the final few playoff spots.  Now sitting 7 games out of the the 8th seed, it appears the season has gotten out of hand, again.

While all the rumors of trading Marcus Morris, Dennis Smith Jr. and Bobby Portis are circulating, it’s nice to hear Morris wanting to be with the Knicks long-term.  He’s 30-years old and isn’t in the long-term plans for the organization.

However, the Knicks need a change and going all young is the way to go.  Not playing some of the younger players is putting a bad taste in the fans mouths.

Kevin Knox is a prime example.  Knox has severely underachieved this season.  All his stats are down from his rookie campaign along with his confidence.  Knox put the work in this off-season to improve and it was seen to begin the year and it had dwindled away with all other aspects of his game.  For him to be apart of the future plans, he needs a significant increase in minutes.

The future players consist of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle.  For the most past, Randle will be in the Knicks plans for the next two-years.

Others that should be in the future plans are Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier and Elfrid Payton.  Even players down in the G-League like Kenny Wooten Jr., Lamar Peters and Ignas Brazdeikis, who has been on the roster, need a chance to showcase their skills.  There could be a hidden gem with one of those 3 players to contribute to the Knicks young future.

It’s time for the New York Knicks to go all-in on playing, developing and growing their youthful future.

New York Knicks not selling at deadline then Mills needs to go

New York Knicks aren’t going to be trading away their ‘assets’ for picks this trade deadline.  It appears like President Steve Mills still has his eye set on going for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

While it is always good to have optimistic goals for the Knicks, we have to be realistic.  The Knicks don’t have a shot at the playoffs.  They have the second worst record in the conference, 10-28, and are 7 games out of the 8th seed.  Don’t see these “dogs” making noise.

Some teams that have been trying to compete for a playoff spot have been eyeing a few New York Knicks players such as, Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr.  Other players that could be on the market are Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Allonzo Trier.

Reports from SNY’s  Ian Begley were that the Knicks would rather get players as compared to picks.  That is if they were to make trade which it seems like Mills is avoiding.  That may be the one good thing Mills has said this season.  If the Knicks want to compete sometime this decade, they’re going to need young talent with upside.

Getting picks is good but unless it’s a high pick you’re taking a chance and might get lucky.  The Knicks aren’t lucky, if anything they’re cursed.  They aren’t the best at evaluating talent either.  They got lucky getting RJ Barrett.  However, the did hit a home run with Mitchell Robinson.  So if they should make trades, getting back young assets would be considered a win.

Mills has been on the hot seat for years now.  He is more to blame for the last two rosters than Scott Perry, who’s entering in his second year with the team.  But Mill’s relationship with the Knicks owner, it seems changes in the front office are unlikely.  How many embarrassing seasons are the Knicks going to have before their needs to be a major shake-up in the front office?

New York Knicks need to call up Kenny Wooten Jr. after the deadline

New York Knicks, Kenny Wooten

The New York Knicks season isn’t going the way everyone thought it would.  Even when they show signs of light, they take a few steps back.

The Knicks seem to be invisible of recent when they play the best teams in the association.  They were able to compete in some games despite getting blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers last night, 117-87.  They beat the Mavericks twice and kept it close with the Sixers and Nuggets.

However, that isn’t good enough for the fans of the New York Knicks.

The trade deadline is February 6th.  And while Marcus Morris doesn’t want to be traded, allegedly, trades will happen.

The Knicks have veteran players that could be useful on teams that are contending.  Morris is one, he’s being targeted by the Clippers and Sixers.  Others that could be targeted are Dennis Smith Jr., Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Allonzo Trier.

When the Knicks become sellers, roster spots will be available.  One player in their G-League affiliate, Westchester Knicks, that can earn a spot is Kenny Wooten Jr. out of Oregon.

While Wooten’s stats for Westchester aren’t breathtaking,  6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, he is averaging 3.5 blocks per.  He’s a highlight factory when it comes to blocks, dunks, rebounds and giving the team energy.

Wooten has the ability to jump out of the gym similar to a Mitchell Robinson.  Those two could be a dynamic duo for the Knicks front court.  They’re both young, have hops and could wreak havoc in paint.  Wooten could learn how to score in the paint the same way Robinson did.

There are other players for Westchester that could earn a spot like Lamar Peter or Ignas Brazdeikis.  Besides Robinson, the Knicks struggle protecting the rim.  Robinson and Wooten could be a tandem that would bring exciting blocks and energy to the entire team and fan base.