Apr 22, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) points after hitting a shot against Atlanta Hawks forward Ivan Johnson (44) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Steve Novak: ESPN Player Rank No. 176

Continuing with our look at where New York Knicks players landed on ESPN’s current player rankings, we jump all the way up to No. 176 and sharpshooter Steve Novak.

May 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) dribbles the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half of game four in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 89-87. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Novak is the fourth lowest rated Knicks player, after James White (479), Pablo Prigioni (437) and Kurt Thomas (325).

Thanks to leading the NBA in three-point shooting a season ago, the Marquette product makes a huge jump from a year ago when he was ranked No. 363. He has a total ranking of 4.58 and is sandwiched between the Rockets Carlos Delfino and the Pistons Brandon Knight.

Novak emerged as a weapon for the Knicks around mid-season after spending the majority of the first half buried on Mike D’Antoni’s bench, but once he got the opportunity, Novak responded with the best year of his career, shooting .472 from behind the arc.

That should earn Novak a more prominent role in the Knicks deep rotation this season, but there are some causes for concern as he struggled big time to get his shot off in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. Novak’s only real value to this team is as a shooter and if he’s not getting his shot off, he has little value as he’s not even an average defender or rebounder.

But a lot of that I feel was due to the Knicks being banged up against the Heat and they could game plan to take Novak out of the game. If the Knicks are healthy and teams want to copy that strategy, then they are asking to get killed by the other Knicks on the floor. That alone should open Novak up to have another big season.

He may not lead the NBA in three-point shooting again, but I’m looking for a big year out of Novak. The Knicks will need one as they really don’t have a ton of quality shooters on their roster. If Novak comes close to duplicating his performance of 2012, this Knicks offense could be very good in 2013.

Get that championship belt ready as Novak should have plenty of opportunities this season to flash the “Discount Double-Check.”

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