Apr 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) reacts after scoring a three pointer during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 90-80. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Novak - In Focus

With some hesitation, I offer you an analysis of one of the newest Toronto Raptors, Steve Novak.

My apprehension is simply because I don’t know Novak’s game very well. It is beyond dispute that the man can shoot the ball, but can he contribute in any other fashion?

Mar 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Novak came to the NBA after graduating (what a concept!) from Marquette University. He was selected #32 in 2006 by the Houston Rockets, but had little impact there, and bounced around the league and the D-League for years. His 3-point shooting acumen was finally rewarded by the New York Knicks with a hefty free-agent contract in July of 2012. This summer he was dealt to the Raps as part of the Andrea Bargnani deal. Unlike 2 participants in the transaction (Quentin Richardson & Marcus Camby), Novak has not been waived/bought out by the Raps, nor does he sound unhappy to be in Canada.

Steve Novak is listed at 6’10’ and 235 pounds, and plays as a “stretch-4″, i.e., a power forward who hovers on the perimeter, striving to get open to launch a long ball. Last season, he drained 149 3-balls in 351 attempts, a more-than-respectable 42.5% clip, which was actually down from the previous year. By contrast, our stretch-4 (Bargnani), made 38 of 123, or 30.9%. At which point you might ask why we got more than Novak (like draft picks) when Steve had by far the better season than Andrea. And there’s the rub – Andrea, when at his best, is a more complete ball player than Steve. Andrea can put the ball on the floor and go to the basket, he can create his shot – he’s not even the worst one-on-one defender on the planet (though his help defense is woeful). Steve has none of those capabilities. If he’s going to help the Raps, he’ll need the active collusion of his teammates. The offensive thrusts of the other Raps will need to be so successful that Novak’s defenders will be compelled to help on double-teams or clogging the paint. At that point, Novak may have the space he needs to launch his high-arcing jumper. The list of stretch-4s who can hit long jumpers with a hand in their face is exceedingly short (how about one name – Dirk Nowitzki), so Steve may get to take a few unchallenged long bombs, after which the defense will likely adjust and he’ll be done. Steve only tried 79 shots last season which weren’t 3s, so he hasn’t much else to offer. His rebounding numbers are sad, and not worthy of repeating. Suffice it to say that Andrea’s 3.7 RPG (Rebounds Per Game) is grim – and nearly twice Steve’s RPG.

Steve Novak is a 3-point shooting specialist. If his teammates help him get open looks, and he shoots the way he’s capable of, he will add a useful dimension to the Raps’ offense. If not, he’ll play the fewest minutes on the team.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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