Novak: Tougher division is 'way we want it'

September, 7, 2012
9/07/12
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Here is Part 2 of ESPNNewYork.com's interview with Knicks sharpshooter Steve Novak, where he discusses the upcoming season and his personal goals:

Q: Has Mike Woodson talked to you at all about your potential role and what to expect this season?

Novak: We had obviously our exit interviews [back in May], where they talk about kind of what they want to see you work on in the offseason. We touched on a few things there. But, to be honest, the team wasn't really formed at that point. Obviously I think a lot changes depending on what rotations they talk about playing and how guys can fit with who. I think that's really going to start when we get back for sure.

Q: The Atlantic this season is going to be much more competitive, arguably the best division in the NBA. What do you think?

Novak: For sure. I think it's going to be an incredible division, and that's the way we want it. That's when it's at its best. That's when the fans are able to enjoy it the most, and when there's teams that are truly neck-in-neck like that, that'll just make us more and more ready for every game. It's great.

Q: Do you see any challenges that you guys will have to overcome in training camp?

Novak: I don't have anything in my mind right now that I feel like we have to overcome. I mean, I think we'll sit down the day before training camp and kind of write a bunch of stuff down covering strengths, weaknesses and things like that. We just don't want to get ahead of ourselves, because the team takes shape so much in those first few weeks when you're together, especially when you're bringing new guys in. I just think those are things that as we practice, they'll come about and we'll talk about them. To talk about them before, I feel like it's almost like false worry.

Q: What are your personal goals basketball-wise?

Novak: My goals honestly are really just development goals. My goals are to be able to execute kind of the stuff that I've worked on in the summer. I don't have like any statistical goals or that kind of stuff in my head. To be honest, I feel like it always kind of affects me negatively when I do that. My goals are to be able to draw more fouls, put the ball on the floor better and to communicate better on defense.

Q: With the ultimate team goal being a championship, I was curious what you learned from your good friend and mentor Shane Battier last season when he helped the Heat win the title. Like you, he's a great shooter, and I know you've been recently working on your defense, which is his second biggest strength.

Novak: I think more than anything, what I take away from Shane always is that he's such a good defender because he's always so prepared. He knows the tendencies of guys and he knows what guys want to do, and he knows what he's going to take away. I think more than anything, what that's just taught me is that when there's a defender who's trying to definitely take something away from you, you have to be able to still score or go through your weakness. So if your tendency is to go to the right, and one dribble into a pull-up [jumpshot] 80 percent of the time, he's going to force you to go to your left. I think I've learned that from him. You have to be able to still consistently make the shot going left, when those defenders take that strength away.

Q: Considering you're coming off your best season in the league, and this is now your second year in New York where the fans adored you as Mr. Discount Triple Check, do you have any plans off the court to capitalize more on your success?

Novak: I don't really have any side motivation or side interest from basketball at this point. To be honest, what I've enjoyed so much from just the fan reaction and support this last year is the effect that I've been able to have when it comes to basketball camps with kids, and that kind of thing. I think the platform that we're given just makes it that much more fun for the kids and for us, because we get to really feel an impact. I think for me that's been the most enjoyable part and what I want is it to continue to grow. I did my first camp in New York over the summer at Sleepy Hollow HS, and it definitely was above my expectations in terms of the talent. We also had a lot of kids, about 120 total. And we did teach them the [Mr. Discount Triple Check] celebration [laughs].

Q: I asked fans on Twitter to send in questions and one really stood out. Michael Dittelman said, "Ask Novak to switch his jersey to No. 43. That way, we can all say, "Novak for three," just like Marv Albert says, "For three." Your thoughts on that?

Novak: Yeah, I saw that. That was pretty creative. I mean, I'm definitely staying No. 16, there's no doubt about that. That's for my son, Mack, who was was actually born on the 16th of July. [He recently turned two.] But I liked it; I really did. I never heard that before. I would've considered it if I not had a number.

For Part 1 of the interview with Novak, where he talks about his offseason training, click here.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2