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Steve Novak disappointed in last season’s playoff benching while playing for Knicks

Oct 11, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT

Steve Novak AP

The Knicks were in Toronto for a preseason game against the Raptors on Friday, so all eyes were on the players involved in the trade that went down between the teams this summer.

Andrea Bargnani leaving Toronto was the biggest part of the deal, considering his status as a former number one overall draft pick along with the albatross-like standing he had as the face of Raptors failure over the last several seasons.

But one of the former Knicks who was sent to Toronto in the trade had a more interesting story to tell about the way he was (or more appropriately, wasn’t) used in New York’s second round playoff loss to the Pacers last season.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Former Knicks 3-point sniper Steve Novak admitted Friday he was very disappointed in Mike Woodson for not using him in the second round of the playoffs against the Pacers after he returned healthy from a sore back.

“Me and Mike were very open about it.,’’ Novak said after Friday’s morning shootaround at the Air Canada Centre before the Knicks face Toronto in a preseason game. “It wasn’t like a rift. Obviously he knew the whole time I wanted to play. I told him when I got healthy. I made sure I went up to him and said, ‘Listen, I’m 100 percent. Don’ t not play me because I’m hurt. I’m ready.’ ’’

Woodson responded, and agreed with Novak that there were no hard feelings. He said the decision was solely based on defensive strategy.

“That’s what coaches do,’’ Woodson said. “We change up and do certain things. In the playoffs, it’s strictly defense. I just went in another direction. It wasn’t anything Novak did. We wish him nothing but the best here.’’

The back injury that Novak suffered in the first round against the Celtics seemed like a fine excuse for the lineup adjustment, and it’s true — the Knicks could have used more shooters in that series against the Pacers.

The reality, however, is that Novak played the role of a specialist all season long, and was up and down in terms of his contributions, which were dependent largely upon how opposing defenses chose to play. Novak was inconsistent at best, and if Woodson didn’t feel like he could count on him on one end of the floor and knew he was essentially useless on the other, then despite the loss, he probably made the right decision.

  1. adamsjohn714 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Mike Woodson went nuts with his lineups in the playoffs.

  2. 950003cups - Oct 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    No no no. Mike Woodson’s line up went nuts on him.

    Nobody remembered how to shoot. Their rebounding efforts looked like a beachball bouncing at a concert.

    They were shooting the ball like a JV Girls squad.

    Nothing went in.

    I thought I was watching Space Jams.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 12, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      Maybe would’ve been nice to put a great shooter out there named Novak.

  3. johngalt1783 - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Novak made at least one 3FGA in 61 of the 81 games in which he played and at least one 3FG in all games but four in which he played 20 or more minutes. Curry also had four 20 minute plus games in which he did not make a three.

    Curry finished with .453 3FG%
    Novak finished with a .425 3FG%. Not nearly as good as the season before in which he shot an astronomical .472 from beyond the arc which is the eight best all-time for players making a 100 3FG in one season.

    So if falling from .472 to .425 in 3FG% makes a 3 point shooter inconsistent I will agree Novak was inconsistent in 2012-13

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 12, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Try having more than one skill and you won’t be benched.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 12, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      He’s one of the best at that skill. And he knows that it’s his only skill, so he doesn’t try to do anything else. Too many players try to do things they can’t do well, and it makes them worse. Novak doesn’t limit his ability by trying to post up and throw cross court passes, chuck fadeaway jumpers, or try to take people off the dribble. He knew his role was to stand in the corner and chuck 3s, which he did exceptionally well. Woodson thought that whatever got them there in the regular season wouldn’t work in the playoffs, which is moronic. They were the 2 seed because of historic 3pt shooting and hardly ever turning the ball over. So Woodson decided to play guys who can’t shoot 3s as well and turn it over a lot more instead. Now, they were going to lose anyways because Chandler was limited with injury, Kidd retired a few weeks before the playoffs started, and Melo crapped the bed, but Woodson greased the wheels.

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