Coming into the season, the New York Knicks depth was something that was to be considered a major strength.
However one vital weapon off the bench has been missing for much of the season- sharpshooter Steve Novak.
Novak parlayed his success last season in which he led the NBA in three-point shooting into a four-year deal, but so far this year, that contract hasn’t paid off on a consistent basis.
It’s not that Novak is having a bad year. The problem is that Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson must find ways to get him more involved in the offense.
Novak is shooting 44.3 percent from behind the arc, which is good for third in the NBA and above his career average. But the problem is that he isn’t getting many looks at the basket.
That has been especially true in the month of January where the Marquette product is only averaging 1.7 three-point shots made per game. Again, that isn’t the problem. The problem has been that he is only taking 3.7 shots per game.
If Novak isn’t getting the opportunity to get shots up, then it is almost pointless to give him minutes as he doesn’t provide value anywhere else.
His attempts have trended down every month of the season.
In November, the seven-year pro averaged 5.1 three-point attempts per game, which is fine. But that number slipped to 4.4 in December and only 3.7 in January. This month, Novak has taken five or more shoots in a game only four times. In addition, has made just one 3-pointer in his last four games. That is something that has to change.
Last season, Novak took eight or more shots in 22 of the Knicks’ final 41 regular-season games and he and the team had tremendous success because of it.
What’s been the problem?
The answer is as simple as ball movement.
The Knicks moved the ball great the first month of the season, which attributed to their great start out of the gate. Just three months later, the Knicks don’t move the ball at all now and guy like Novak has suffered.
Whether that is attributed to injuries at the guard spots remains to be seen, but the Knicks have gone back into isolation mode where the ball stops, mostly when it hits Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith’s hands.
Both ‘Melo and Smith have been playing well, so it is hard to argue with their success, but it is not good for the Knicks long-term.
Other teams have game planned to not allow Novak to get the ball, but that is something Woodson must solve.
The ball has to start moving again.
When it does, the Knicks will again begin looking like a dominant team and Novak will be a big part of that.
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