(related post : Hoop Doctors on Steve Novak)
In the media blitz surrounding the Knicks winning streak of February 2012, the hype, money, and celebrity surrounding Jeremy Lin distracted much of the conversation from the real source of good feelings generated among the Knicks faithful : The brand of basketball the Knicks brought to the table during that spree, and which still continues to this day.
"Linsanity" was not just Jeremy Lin. He was instrumental, and pivotal, in re-introducing the sort of selfless yet deadly gameplay, the joyous game that is a blend of individual drive and team-camaraderie to an NBA that has been starved of it in the pursuit of sneaker contracts, superstar marketing techniques, and the greed of the daily news cycle.
Jeremy Lin brought what he brought : magical play that was beyond critique. Lin's measurable skills can be debated but the fact that he brought a season and a team that was heading into pure hell out of it.
Tyson Chandler was the only superstar left on the team, the only champion the team's had in decades, and he 100 % believed in Linsanity. Because he believed, and got on board, the entire team, the entire garden believed - and the team rallied behind the ivy league sensation.
And finally Steve Novak - he was the shooter. An astute observer of the game saw that the chemistry between Novak and Lin was perfect. I noticed it for the first time during the Dallas Mavericks game : The two of them clearly were B-team practice partners who'd developed the rhythm and mind-reading that true friends can get. Novakaine was born at the same time, coined by Clyde the Glide.
The brand of Knicks basketball that is being played today is a continuation of the wave and mindset that began last February. The Garden loves it. The place is electric. And often, right there at the center of it, is the man, Steve Novak. Just a sharp shooter without a complete skill set, but who is so good at what he does it doesn't matter. Just get him a look. A few looks. It doesn't take him much to get into that zone where there is no chance of missing.
Steve Novak has emerged as one of the greatest three point shooters in the NBA. When he catches the ball behind the three point arc the MSG crowd hums with excitement, ready to explode when the ball splashes through the net. Once Novak gets one to go, there is bound to be another and yet another. The Knicks Faithful have the utmost confi dence in Novak's shooting ability and are always chomping at the bit to see him launch one. When Novak's shooting, Novak's hitting, and the Knicks are winning.
Check out the awesome Steve Novak Anthem : Three Fingers Up.
And get pumped. This Knicks team at its best plays the best basketball in the NBA.