Friday, October 5, 2012
Novak's inside look into training camp
By Jared Zwerling
GREENBURGH. N.Y. -- While Steve Novak may not be able to see the floor quite like Jason Kidd, he has a keen eye on the nuances of the game and players' tendencies. He's one of the best out there in that regard.
Since last season, ESPNNewYork.com has caught up with Novak for occasional in-depth Q&As. This time, the focus was on the start of training camp. Here's their conversation:
Q: So how's it been going so far?
Novak: Camp's been good. I feel like our practices have been the right energy. We haven't been doing a ton of offense or defense, but it's been a lot of conditioning. And being in the hotel together has been good. A lot of bonding.
Q: How much did pre-training camp help you guys transition into this week?
Novak: I think it was good because it gave everybody that feeling before camp ever started that everybody knew where everyone was at. We played 5-on-5. It was kind of nice to get to know the guys I haven't played with as much. To me, it was the best transition from summer to training camp that I've ever had.
Q: Considering how deep the team is, does it make it interesting as far as how everyone is trying to determine their specific role in the rotation?
Novak: Yeah. I mean, camp is always kind of tough to get a real feel early, because you're doing so much conditioning and you're not playing as much. And there's like 20 bodies, so it's tougher to really get a feel for your team. But I think you can also see that guys that we know are here -- not the camp guys, but the core guys -- are really versatile, like how J.R. [Smith] is. He can play the one, he can guard the one, he can play the two or the three. Same with Melo [Carmelo Anthony]. He can play the two, three, four. We have a lot of guys that are like that. Jason [Kidd] and Raymond [Felton] can also play the one and the two at the same time. The longer I've been around, the more I've realized those versatile guys are so valuable.
Q: How have your veteran teammates who have been to the Finals helped you? Kidd's been there three times, Marcus Camby once and Rasheed Wallace won a title in 2004.
Novak: A lot. Sometimes guys like Melo and guys like Amare -- that eight, nine, 10-year guy -- they feel like they have so much burden on them. And I think having guys like Jason, having guys like Marcus and Kurt -- not that Carmelo, Amare and Tyson aren't our leaders -- but I think it takes a little less mental burden off of them knowing that there are other guys, other veterans, that can be the voice. They can give input about certain things and I think that's valuable. They can help guide us.
Q: Speaking of Kidd, I saw you working with him on Thursday going over the pick-and-pop. What were you discussing?
Novak: I think we all want to get in Jason's head because we all know he's one of the greatest passers to ever play. We were talking yesterday about pick-and-popping. He was talking about just transition and how to play different angles. Especially what we were talking about was when he dribbles towards the guy, he can keep the ball and then he just always wants you to keep moving. I think that's Jason. If you keep moving, you know he's going to find you. If he dribbles this way, keep moving. If he dribbles this way and he hands it to you, it's like he wants you to just keep reading, because he wants you to know he's still looking for you.
Q: I know you're not all about personal honors, but have you thought at all about participating in next year's 3-point shootout at All-Star Weekend?
Novak: That would be great. I think that's something that just happens because of whatever happens during the season. I'd love, of course, to be in it, but it's not something before the game I'll think, I need to do this. But, of course, it would be awesome.