The New York Knicks don’t have a more one-dimensional player than Steve Novak. Ronnie Brewer can’t shoot, but he can surprise the defense, put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket once or twice a game. Novak can do one thing and one thing only – shoot! The problem is when Novak isn’t hitting his shots, or even getting them off for that matter, he is useless on offense and a liability on defense.
In Novak’s last 20 games he’s only scored in double figures 3 times. In 4 of the losses Novak played huge minutes with little to no production:
33 minutes in Jeremy Lin’s return to the Garden = 3 points & a loss
31 minutes in the Bulls December 21st beat down = 3 points & a loss
20 minutes on New Years Day against the Blazers = 0 points & a loss
24 minutes in Indiana when Melo served his suspension for the KG incident = 3 points & a loss
22 minutes against the Magic, easily his best game in a month= 8 points & a win
Novak is becoming a non-factor, he registered just 13 minutes in Sundays win against the Hawks and he was scoreless, just as he was in 3 of the last 4 games. Novak is at a bit of a crossroad here and I think the problem is 2 fold:
A) The Knicks have failed to let Novak run off screens the way Ray Allen did in Boston. How difficult would it be for a defense, if in one possession Novak’s man had to run through a Melo, Chandler and then Thomas screen, just to try to get a hand in Steve’s face?
B) Novak’s has to shoot the dam shot. He doesn’t have an unconscious shooters mentality. If he has a ounce of daylight, he’s got to dial that 3 up, because that’s the only reason he’s in the game. Could you imagine if you took JR Smith’s scoring mentality and combined that with Novak’s shooting ability? You end up with Reggie Miller.
Meanwhile, Kyle Korver is in Atlanta wearing the NBA’s 3-point crown. The Hawks make Korver’s man run through several screens on any given possession and the results show, in Korver’s last 19 games he’s only scored in single digits 6 times. Novak is the ultimate weapon, and ultimate liability at the same time. With New York getting healthier, minutes are getting that much more difficult to come by. Novak will have a lot more to worry about than Nate Robinson doing the discount double check if he can’t even get off the bench.