If the New York Knicks are going to make any noise in the playoffs this season, they really need perennial three-point threat Steve Novak to find the electrifying nature he showcased early this season as well as last season.
In the first year of a long-term deal he signed with New York after leading the NBA in three-point percentage in 2012, Novak is currently averaging 6.7 points over 19.9 minutes per game and is shooting 43 percent from long range. That ranks him seventh in the league in three-point percentage.
However, one key difference in Novak as of late is that he is nowhere near as much of an x-factor as he was last season. Some nights he’ll be a lights-out shooter who helps bring the Knicks a victory, and others he will be a non-factor. Given how much the man has improved his off-the-dribble game this year, one can see how frustrating this must be from all perspectives.
Look at it this way. This season, when Novak has scored in double figures, New York has gone an incredible 15-2. If we take last year into consideration, that record becomes 29-8.
Clearly, he is more important to the team’s offense than meets the eye.
That all being said, with the playoffs just around the corner, it’s time for Novak to get more involved on offense. He must demand the ball more and do all he can to get open for a three-point shot or mid-range jumper. This man has shown time and time again just how important he is to the Knicks’ offense and while there are plenty of players who can step up if he’s off his game, the team’s overall attack is all the more dangerous if he has the hot hand.
This means that with the regular season coming to a close, Novak needs to do all he can to find the fire he showcased last season and for parts of this year so that he can be a force in the postseason. He posted just 2.4 points per game in the playoffs last year, and the Knicks need that number to be higher in 2013.
If Novak can be a lights-out three-point shooter and be near-unstoppable when open, then New York is going to be the team to beat in this year’s postseason. Otherwise, the team had better hope none of the other players suddenly go cold.