I promise, this isn’t a redundant post connected to my bromance for the one Steve Novak.
No. Instead, after having a few days to digest that brutal Game 1 in Miami, one thing has become very clear to me:
Steve Novak needs to be more involved in the Knicks offense.
In no situation should J.R. Smith be jacking up 17 shots from the field. It’s hard to take his team-leading 17 points seriously when he was 7-17 from the field, and 3-8 from 3-point land. That is beyond ineffective. Even worse, it takes the entire team out of any offensive flow, which the team couldn’t establish in the second half for a variety of reasons.
Novak? He was 2-for-2, both from downtown. Small sample, yes. But, there is a more important theme to that. The key to the Knicks beating the Heat tonight and getting back into this series is being productive from distance, because the Heat’s defensive weakness is guarding the perimeter.
The Knicks are in a very deep hole. They have to find a way to replace Iman Shumpert’s versatility, and they have to get Carmelo Anthony going if they want to be remotely competitive in Miami. Those are clearly the first two needs.
But, again, if the game plan is to kill Miami from deep and take a bunch of 3’s, why is the NBA’s most efficient 3-point shooter only getting two shots?
Novak needs to get more looks, so much so that its at the point where the team should be looking for him on the floor. I’ve ran this number before, so I apologize if you’ve seen it before. In Knicks wins, Novak cashes in over 10 points per game. In losses, it drops off to around 6. Novak needs the ball. He spreads the floor, forces a defender away from the rim, which allows ‘Melo more room to do what he does best.
If Smith is going to put up 15+ shots from the floor tonight and if Novak gets lost in the shuffle once again, this team will not be productive. They will likely fall in Game 2 and go back to New York down two games to none.
We are at that point where we realize Steve Novak is critical to the Knicks’ success. Bromances aside, my first priority as a fan is to see my team win, regardless of who is doing the heavy lifting. Hell, if Mike Bibby needs to score 20 points, I don’t care. I want wins. I want to Beat the Heat.
Right now, the clear and obvious way to give the Knicks the ability to knock off the heat is feeding the Novak fire.
Get the ball…to Novak!