Tag: Steve Novak

Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton

Monday And-1 Links: Luke Walton wants another shot in NBA


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Luke Walton spent most of last season on the Cleveland bench (he got in 50 games) and, when he couldn’t get picked up for this season by anyone, landed a gig as a studio analyst on the Lakers broadcasts. Not bad. But he told ESPNLosAngeles.com what he really wants is to get back in the NBA.

“I want to play still,” said Walton, who has already met with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, to discuss fulfilling a player development role that will allow him to work out with the team along with his TV duties. “I’ve trained all summer as if I was going to get a call. The call never came, so, I’m going to keep working out … If nothing happens this year, then I’ll probably admit that it’s officially over.”

• J.J. Redick, who has missed all of training camp with a bruised left quad, was back on the practice court for the Clippers Monday. Good sign for that team.

• In other news the Clippers waived Brandon Davies. Their roster is down to 15 now.

• The Clippers are going to be part of the NBA’s opening night — and TNT is going to broadcast its pre/post game show that night from the streets of New York City. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will broadcast live from Flatiron Plaza on opening night, part of a promotion with NBA 2K14.

• This is a fantastic look by Zach Harper at the impact of stretch fours on a team’s defense. Some are better than others. As you would expect LeBron James and Dirk Nowitizki fare well in the comparison, but Steve Novak and Metta World Peace do as well.

• Speaking of quality NBA writing, J.A. Adande hit the nail on the head talking about Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and loyalty.

• Another story, and a good one, about the fall of former Georgetown star Victor Page.

• An entire tumblr dedicated to people yelling at Mario Chalmers.

• As expected by everyone, the Pelicans picked up the options on Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.

• Utah Jazz rookie center Rudy Gobert may be a 7’1″ Frenchman, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t look good with some sparkly nail polish… that or he’s getting hazed by the team veterans. Probably the latter.

Steve Novak disappointed in last season’s playoff benching while playing for Knicks

Steve Novak

The Knicks were in Toronto for a preseason game against the Raptors on Friday, so all eyes were on the players involved in the trade that went down between the teams this summer.

Andrea Bargnani leaving Toronto was the biggest part of the deal, considering his status as a former number one overall draft pick along with the albatross-like standing he had as the face of Raptors failure over the last several seasons.

But one of the former Knicks who was sent to Toronto in the trade had a more interesting story to tell about the way he was (or more appropriately, wasn’t) used in New York’s second round playoff loss to the Pacers last season.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Former Knicks 3-point sniper Steve Novak admitted Friday he was very disappointed in Mike Woodson for not using him in the second round of the playoffs against the Pacers after he returned healthy from a sore back.

“Me and Mike were very open about it.,’’ Novak said after Friday’s morning shootaround at the Air Canada Centre before the Knicks face Toronto in a preseason game. “It wasn’t like a rift. Obviously he knew the whole time I wanted to play. I told him when I got healthy. I made sure I went up to him and said, ‘Listen, I’m 100 percent. Don’ t not play me because I’m hurt. I’m ready.’ ’’

Woodson responded, and agreed with Novak that there were no hard feelings. He said the decision was solely based on defensive strategy.

“That’s what coaches do,’’ Woodson said. “We change up and do certain things. In the playoffs, it’s strictly defense. I just went in another direction. It wasn’t anything Novak did. We wish him nothing but the best here.’’

The back injury that Novak suffered in the first round against the Celtics seemed like a fine excuse for the lineup adjustment, and it’s true — the Knicks could have used more shooters in that series against the Pacers.

The reality, however, is that Novak played the role of a specialist all season long, and was up and down in terms of his contributions, which were dependent largely upon how opposing defenses chose to play. Novak was inconsistent at best, and if Woodson didn’t feel like he could count on him on one end of the floor and knew he was essentially useless on the other, then despite the loss, he probably made the right decision.

Knicks’ Woodson likes combo of ‘Melo, Bargnani and Chandler

Carmelo Anthony

How about this Knicks frontcourt: Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler?

My first thought is it moves Anthony to the three when he performs better at the four, plus that puts a world of defensive pressure on Chandler. However this is why the preseason exists, run this lineup out there and see how it looks, how they interact.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson has and he likes what he sees, he told ESPNNewYork.com.

“It’s looking good,” Woodson said on Sunday. “I don’t know who’s going to start yet. But I like the makeup of Andrea and Melo on the floor at the same time with Tyson [Chandler]. In the scrimmage we worked that combination. It wasn’t bad.”

“Me and ‘B’ had a great week, just playing together, spacing it out on the court, me trying to learn from him, him trying to learn from me, trying to see what spots he likes out there on the basketball court,” Anthony said. “For the most part, he’s actually a smart player; he can play off people.”

I’d be surprised if Bargnani starts, the lineup with Metta World Peace at the three and Anthony at the four makes more sense. But if Bargnani is hitting his outside shot — remember he shot 30.9 percent from three last season and was worse the season before that — you can see the potential for spacing that could help open things up for Anthony. How about a 3/5 pick-and-roll with Anthony and Chandler, while Bargnani spaces the defense out in the corner?

It’s a matter of matchups because you can hide a defender on Barnani and pay more attention to Anthony. It’s pretty clear I’m not a fan of what Bargnani brings to New York because I’ve watched him in Toronto — he might give the Knicks some Steve Novak level of production (he his some shots but can’t defend or rebound), however with the wild price tag. (more…)

Masai Ujiri cautious with his words but thinks Raptors headed in right direction

Masai Ujiri

There are a lot of fans in Toronto that think they have a playoff team this season.

A lot thought that last season, something encouraged by the bold words of Bryan Colangelo. Didn’t exactly work out that way…actually it was nothing close to that way.

Now there is a new sheriff in town, GM Masai Ujiri, a guy who already found a way to unload Andrea Bargnani and his massive salary. So more bold predictions?

Nope. That’s not how Ujiri roles. He spoke with Eric Koreen of the national post and was cautious.

“I really can’t say this team is going to be fourth or seventh or 12th,” Ujiri said in a one-on-one interview in his corner office days before his first training camp as general manager of the Raptors. “I can’t do that. I want us to have growth, big-time growth, and improvement so that we can actually know what we have on this team. And then we can move from there.”

Should the Raptors have made a bigger, splashier move this offseason?

“I wouldn’t understand what there is to do bigger. I understand [the feeling]. I wish I could come in and make it an Eastern Conference final team the next day. That’s not how sports work. I study history. I study the game. I study the NBA and the team I’m working for very, very closely. Everyday, you think about it … My job, from when I took the job and when we started here, is to try to move forward. That’s the way I see it.”

And the Raptors will move forward. While just how far Rudy Gay can lead a team is a divisive issue, he can lead them to the playoffs and they have a full season with him. Jonas Valanciunas has looked great over the summer (at both Summer League and FIBA’s EuroBasket) and we’ll see if Terrence Ross can take a step forward. Guys off the bench like Steve Novak and Tyler Hansbrough can be good role players.

There are big questions, mostly about if this team can defend well enough to make the playoffs. But they can be in the mix for one of the final couple spots in the East.

After a long playoff drought, start there. No reason for Ujiri to oversell it.

Felton says younger Knicks better prepared for long season

2013 Yao Foundation Charity Game Press Conference

Gone are Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Marcus Camby.

In their place are Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih, and Tim Hardaway, Jr.

It’s not quite that clean and simple (Chris Copeland and Steve Novak are gone as well) but the idea is clear — New York got younger. Last season they were the oldest team in NBA history, this season they are not young but they are younger.

Point guard Raymond Felton told the New York Post that will make a difference this season.

“No knock to the guys we had last year. Those guys had incredible careers. I wish I could play that long. But we are young. That’s what I’m saying. We’re a younger team this year. We still got depth from last year, but we also have a younger bench. That’s going to help us later in the season.”

Felton put himself in the time-honored pre-camp category of “I lost 15 pounds this summer and feel the best I have in years.” Every team has one or two of those guys each season, this year for the Knicks it is Felton. All such revelations should be treated with skepticism until proven otherwise (and we see it improve his play).

The basic idea is this: the younger Knicks will not wear down as much, battle fewer injuries over the course of the season and win a few more games (they likely do win a few more, because they are better and in part because with teams going woeful for Wiggins there will be more wins for every good team). More importantly, they will be better positioned for the playoffs, where the Knicks are going to need to be healthy and better to advance farther than they did a year ago.