With another double-digit scoring performance on Sunday afternoon in the Knicks’ 106-99 win over the Suns, Steve Novak is getting back into his old ways again. Over the last five games, the sharpshooter has helped his team to a 4-1 record, averaging 12 points on 55% from deep over the stretch.
Currently sitting at 12-4, New York is quickly emerging as one of the stronger teams in the league, and there’s no doubt Novak plays a big role in the way they hit opponents with a balanced attack each and every night.
After becoming an instant fan-favorite last season due to the boost he provided the Knicks with off the bench, the forward is happy to have stuck around for the long haul.
He, along with swingman J.R. Smith and Knickerbocker legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier all took part in a meet and greet event for the fans this past weekend through Steiner Sports.
The celebrated memorabilia company provides basketball fans with great exclusives each and every season, but with New York rising atop of its division in the early goings, the players and their fans can interact with something ever so positive in common to smile about.
What have been the keys to Novak’s recent resurgence? How has he been able to stay motivated as he gets back on track, pouring in the points off the bench once again?
The forward sat down with KnicksJournal.com to chat about his early impact, the team’s strong winning ways, and more.
With the holiday season upon us, who will be hosting the entire Knickerbocker bunch for Christmas this year? Continue reading on for all that and more, exclusively from Novak himself.
Q: After struggling to hit your stride in the early part of the season, you’ve really thrived as of late with a mini-comeback of sorts. What has sparked the change recently?
A: I wouldn’t call anything a mini-comeback yet. It’s a long season. We’ve had a few ups and downs already, but I feel like we’re in our groove and have really come together in the first few games.
Q: I know you’ve said in the past that your game is elevated when you’re able to play with a good floor general. How much has hitting the hardwood alongside Pablo Prigioni played into your own success thus far?
A: Since Pablo has gotten here, everyone has been impressed with the way he plays and the way he moves the ball. He’s definitely a guy who came here to win, you know? There’s nothing else to it. People love playing with him because he’s smart and knows how to get you the ball.
Q: Last season it took a while for the Knicks to get into their groove because a steady point guard wasn’t really present until later in the season. Would you say having such quality players at the position now has been the key to the team’s early winning ways?
A: Absolutely. I don’t think there’s a team in the league that’s deeper at the point guard position than we are with Raymond, Jason, and Pablo. Everyone around them just benefits from the way they play.
Q: You’ve become a notable figure in the Big Apple dating back to last season. With the team doing so well, are you gunning for a spot in the Sprite Three-Point Contest this season?
A: You know, I’m not gunning for it so much. I understand the way the participants are picked, and I’d be honored to be a part of it. We’re just taking one game at a time and I’m trying to win, but if the Three-Point Contest is something that happens because of it, I’m going to be the happiest guy in the world.
Q: Prior to the start of this season, you acknowledged that an elevated defensive effort would be what essentially keeps you on the court. Even when you’re not seen scoring, a stronger effort has been visible so far, whether it be through help or man-to-man defense. Was this something that Coach Woodson wanted you to work on, or was it something you recognized on your own?
A: To be honest, I’d probably say this goes back to my college days at Marquette. My coach would always tell me that. When my shot’s not falling, I want to be able to stay on the floor. I’ve got to be valuable in other ways. As I came into my own here in New York, I understood there just couldn’t be nights that I couldn’t stay on the floor. There has to be more than one reason why I’m there. I have to defend, rebound, and do all those little things. Doing all that is what’s going to allow me to stay on the floor.
Q: The Knicks recently defeated the Wizards in dominating fashion. Obviously you guys want to go out and get a victory, but is it important to also win big and send a message against a weaker team like that?
A: Yes, absolutely. First and foremost, if it’s a game at the Garden, we have to have a certain way about us. We feel as though we should set the tone, because it’s our home court. We don’t really feel like we should lose any games there. We have the greatest home court advantage in the league. More than anything, no matter who the opponent is out there, we’ve got to go out and get wins.
Q: One holiday related question to close things out: I know many members of the team celebrated Thanksgiving at Marcus Camby’s house in Houston while you were on the road. You’ll be in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers on Christmas Day. Has anyone stepped up so far to say they’ll host the group yet?
A: You know, we don’t want to put pressure on anybody, but Tyson Chandler already has offered I think. He said that if we want to, he’d set something up at his place out there. Hosting an entire basketball team is never light duty though, so we’ll see!