Woody wants more from Novak

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
7:21
PM ET
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To the surprise of almost everyone in the gym, Steve Novak threw down a right-handed dunk toward the end of Knicks practice on Tuesday.

It was a lighthearted moment to close out an intense workout, one that drew a strong reaction from Novak's teammates.

"Crazy" is how one player described it.

Mike Woodson was probably impressed, as well. But the Knicks coach would much rather see his sharpshooter knocking down 3s, something that's been as rare as a Novak dunk in recent days.

One of Woodson's goals heading into Wednesday's home game against the Magic is to create open looks for Novak. The 29-year-old forward has just one 3-pointer in his last four games.

[+] EnlargeSteve Novak
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsSteve Novak has hit just one 3-pointer in his past four games.
"I've got to get Novak more involved," Woodson said on Tuesday. "I've got to get (him) some more touches, somehow."

Touches have been few and far between for Novak in recent games. The six-year veteran has had four attempts or fewer in seven of the Knicks' last nine games. Last season, Novak took eight or more shots in 22 of the Knicks' final 41 regular-season games.

On Tuesday, Novak insisted he's not concerned about his touches -- or lack thereof -- in recent weeks.

"I understand that there may be games that I score 25 and there's games where I may not score at all," Novak, who signed a four-year, $15 million contract, said after practice. "We have a deep enough team that there's going to be nights where some guys are feeling it, some guys are getting more looks ... I'm just going to continue to do what I do and stay confident."

Raymond Felton, back in the lineup after a five-week absence due to a fractured right pinkie, is expected to help create open looks for Novak. Novak is shooting 50 percent when he shares the floor with Felton and 36 percent when he isn't. He's also hitting 53.6 percent of his 3s when Felton's on the court, 40 percent when the point guard is off the floor.

The numbers indicate Felton's ability to penetrate and draw defenders, which in turn creates open shots on the perimeter.

More recently, though, teams have consistently chosen to take Novak out of the Knicks' offense by assigning a defender to shadow him -- one reason his shot total has dipped of late.

"Whenever Steve steps on the court, they don't let him get the ball in his hands," J.R. Smith said. "I think they're doing a good job of that."

Added Novak: "Once you, as we say, you make the scouting report, you're just not a secret anymore."

Teams keying on Novak do so at the expense of having an extra help defender available on other areas of the floor. And it seems to be helping the Knicks. New York is averaging 3.6 more points per game with Novak on the floor, which is partially due to the open shots created by the attention paid to Novak.

"Hopefully, (I can) be a decoy when I'm needed and make shots when I need to," Novak said.

Woodson would prefer the latter.

The coach didn't offer specifics on what he could do to get Novak back in the mix, but he made it clear that he's going to make it a priority, beginning on Wednesday when his team takes on the Magic.

"We got to get Novak to come back to where he's supposed to be," the coach said.

WATCH IT: NOVAK'S DUNK: Back in late November, in the second half of the Knicks-Bucks game in Milwaukee, Novak found himself all alone with a clear path to the basket.

Players on the Knicks bench stood up in anticipation of a dunk. But with Milwaukee's Tobias Harris closing hard, Novak opted to pull up for a layup.

That led to good-natured ribbing from teammates and fans, some of whom questioned whether the 6-foot-10 sharpshooter could actually get above the rim.

Novak ended any speculation on Tuesday, though, throwing down a right-handed dunk at the close of Knicks practice.

The team's website caught the dunk on video. Check it out here.

You can follow Ian Begley 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