With the Knicks set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in their fifth preseason game, let’s take a look at notes from their two losses this weekend against the Toronto Raptors (a 107-88 loss on Friday) and Boston Celtics (a 109-88 loss on Saturday).
One of the most interesting plays of the Knicks first preseason games was when Steve Novak dribbled up from the three point line and attempted a floater that rattled in and out. Without any context, this seemed like a meaningless play in a preseason game, but for Knicks fans, the play certainly elicited a response. Many of these responses were imploring Novak to never do such a thing, to stick to what he does best. So does this mean Steve Novak should only shoot three pointers?
As training camp begins and the season is right around the corner, many of the weathered Knicks fans have begun to come out of the woodwork. As a fan myself, I have no doubt let my feelings show to the world (or for all my Facebook friends), in order to keep my sanity during the dark ages of this organization’s fandom.
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.
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!
After Kenneth Dam ruled the Knicks would win their case against the NBA for the early bird-rights to Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, the NBA immediately revealed that they planned to appeal the decision. The two parties have been in communication in hopes of coming to a settlement before the clock struck 12:01 AM, July 1st.
Earlier this afternoon, arbitrator Kenneth Damn, who was brought in to determine if the Knicks held the early bird-rights for Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, ruled in the Knicks’ favor. Now, after this ruling, the Knicks will be able to re-sign Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak – without affecting the salary cap – WHILE retaining their mid-level exception (MLE).
The season that began with a Lockout ended with the Knicks falling to some lock-down defense from the Miami Heat.
The rollar-coaster season the Knicks have endured finally came to an end tonight in a 106-94 loss to the Heat in Game 5 of their first round playoff series. Carmelo Anthony led New York with 35 points and eight rebounds. The Heat were led by LeBron James’ near triple-double of 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
If there’s one thing that the Heat have exposed in the first four games of this series, it’s that Steve Novak is a one-trick-pony. Yes, we knew this, but we never knew the extent. The Heat’s super-quick perimeter rotations leave Novak with essentially no time to hoist up a three – even though he has a lightning quick release – which leaves him trapped out behind the three-point line. In the series, Novak has only hit four threes, on just seven attempts. He’s still knocking down the shots, just isn’t getting the opportunity to take too many. The lack of attempts isn’t coming from a lack of playing time, either. It’s resulting from superb defense that doesn’t even let Novak attempt a shot. When Novak is on the floor, the Knicks are essentially playing four on five, with the possibility of a three-pointer, should the Heat collapse on defense.
I’ve been promising them for a while, so here you go. If you want any other players, be sure to comment below the post or tweet me (@TheKnicksWall)!
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Karma could be on the side of the Knicks, since the last time that they played the Heat in the first-round they went onto play the Spurs in the Finals. In addition, during that 1999 season, the NBA also had a lockout shortened campaign, that saw the team hurt by the injury to Patrick Ewing.
The New York Knicks have been blessed with an extremely deep team – even Mike D’Antoni stretched his usual 8-9 man rotation – but with the playoffs starting, the rotation will shrink… The question is, who will make the cut?