If there is a better shooter than Steve Novak in existence, he doesn’t reside on this planet. A 6’10” forward born in Libertyville, IL, Novak’s basketball odyssey began at the University at Marquette. In his four years there (2002-2006), he appeared in 131 games (89 starts), including a Final Four run in 2003, alongside Miami Heat star, Dwayne Wade. His scoring improved during each season with Marquette, going from 7.1 points per game in his freshman year to 17.5 points per game his senior year. His trademark then, as is now, was the three-point shot. In his four years, he hit 368 shots from beyond the arc and shot 46.4% from trey. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 32nd pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He appeared in just 70 games with the Rockets in his first two seasons, playing 5.5 and 7.5 minutes in those seasons respectively. The 2008-09 season was the first in which Novak received extensive playing time. In 71 games, Novak played 16.4 minutes and averaged 6.9 points per game while shooting 41.6% from beyond the arc. In his next season with the Clippers, his playing time was reduced dramatically (54 games, 6.7 minutes per game). From there, Novak languished on the bench with the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs in 2010-11, appearing in a total of 30 games with the two clubs. His breakout came last season, when he appeared in 54 games with the Knicks, averaging 8.8 points per game while shooting a ridiculous 47.2% from three-point land, tops in the NBA.
Novak’s offense is basically made up of one shot: the three-pointer. He attempted 337 field goals last season, 282 from beyond the arc. Whenever he touched the ball at Madison Square Garden, Knicks fans would slowly rise to their feet in anticipation of a three-point make and his Aaron Rodgers “Discount Double-Check” celebration. Novak is not the type of player who can create his own shot. He is much best working with a point guard who can create shots for him or getting shots off of double teams.
Novak is not particularly knows as a good defender but he makes up for it with great effort and hustle. Let’s just say he won’t be guarding any other team’s top offensive options.
Novak’s role this season will be the same as last year. As a role player coming off the bench, Novak will be counted on to make his open three-point shots. His presence on the floor should make opponents think twice of double-teaming either Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire. If he is found open beyond the arc, it’s almost an automatic three points. On the fast break, he must be accounted for by defenses, as he is deadly on the catch and shoot.