When the Knicks picked up journeyman forward Steve Novak off of waivers last season, I didn’t really think much of it. I mean, at first blush, this is a guy that was cut by the Spurs (his fifth team in seven seasons), and if Coach Pop can’t find a way to utilize this guy, I was pretty sure Mike D’Antoni couldn’t!
I’ll admit, I was pretty jaded at the time, as I watched MDA losing the team (and games) night after night in a shortened season.
Then it happened…Linsanity…and all of a sudden this guy, Novak, was bombing the opposition every night for the Orange and Blue! He was shooting the ball at such an impressive clip that I wondered how he ever got past “basketball genius” Daryl Morey in Houston, Mark Cuban in Dallas, and Coach Pop and the Spurs (Clippers notwithstanding).
After finishing this past season with 133 three-pointers in 54 games (.472), and putting up one of the best three-point shooting seasons of all-time, it was safe to say that I wanted to see him back in a Knicks jersey for the 2012-13 season. Then the league won the ‘Bird Rights apply to players claimed on waivers’ decision and, to me, it was a no-brainer!
However, there are a lot of Knicks fans who watched Novak disappear in the playoffs against Miami (myself included), and wondered if he would be worth what he could command in the open market.
Well, we got our answer today when the Knicks re-upped Novak for four guaranteed years, $15 million in a surprise to a lot of us who had watched GM Glen Grunfeld stick to his guns about letting the market dictate his value.
With all that being said, Novak is a steal. Yeah, he’s a set-shooter who has to be completely open, but when he gets that shot, it’s money!
The good news is that Novak’s jumper is wet. You can’t teach that. He doesn’t have to work with Allan Houston the way Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert were to improve their shot. But I do think Allan could teach him something that will make him worth his weight in gold… how to create his own shot.
If Novak can learn how to get himself open and still bury those jumpers with the same consistency as he does from the set, he could be one of the most dangerous offensive options on the Knicks, right behind Melo.
Also, understand that Novak has another ability that you can’t buy and that is the ability to completely change the momentum of a game. He can break your back with a dagger three at a crucial moment, he can shoot the Knicks back into a game when they’re down, or he can demoralize a team on the brink of losing control of a game for good!
Novak brings so much more to the table than just corner threes and if he works hard to improve his game, the sky’s the limit for the contribution he can make to this Knicks team that is clearly in “win now” mode.
And if he doesn’t… we got one of the top three-point shooters in the league for $3.5 million a year…still a deal…
I don’t know about you, but I hope I’m “discount Nova-checkin’” all season long!