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[chron] Novak focuses on defense in order to earn more playing time

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by The Hungarian Rocket, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. The Hungarian Rocket

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    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/5220616.html

    Novak can rely on shot
    Rockets forward focuses on defense in order to earn more playing time


    Long after the Rockets' practice had ended Tuesday, Steve Novak traded low-post moves with Mike Harris and Carl Landry, jump hooks with Shane Battier, and body blows with Jackie Butler.

    The low-post drills and competition could offer another taste of life in the lane for Novak, a second-year forward. But when it all finally ended with Harris the day's winner, Novak stopped on the other end of the court, moved to the arc and began draining 3-pointers.

    He had put in some turnaround jumpers and completed a few post moves in the drills. But it is at the 3-point arc where Novak has "a special skill" and his best chance to make the roster for a second season.

    Considered a remarkable second-round find last season and a sensation of training camp when Tracy McGrady called him the best shooter he had seen, Novak, 6-10, alternately believes he is on the team and must earn a spot this season. If he makes it, there will be little doubt about how.

    "He's got a special skill that's hard to find," coach Rick Adelman said. "When you've got a guy that can shoot the ball like he can and you put him on the floor with good players, he's going to get open shots. He definitely has a specialty that a lot of teams are looking for, including us."

    Novak's shot got him to the NBA. But to stay there and get consistent minutes on the court, he will need to hone the other parts of his game.

    Possessing special skill

    During the Las Vegas Summer League, Novak struggled to adjust to the change in offensive systems, but he has improved at making the transition. Adelman, like Jeff Van Gundy before him, has wondered whether Novak will be able to defend well enough for the Rockets to take advantage of his shooting.

    "He's doing better," Adelman said. "You put him out on the floor with your better players, and he has more of a chance to take advantage of his shooting abilities.

    "With Steve, it's always been a factor: What is he going to do defensively? He's got to on that end, whether it's (against) a four man or three man, hold his own so that his shooting becomes a factor. He's definitely picked things up a lot better. He sees where he's going to get his shots. He just has to keep working on the other end."

    No longer a rookie, Novak, 24, said he does not think he must prove himself to make the Rockets' roster, but he tells himself that he must anyway. The Rockets have 20 players under contract and must trim four plus Bob Sura by Oct. 26. Novak had been assumed a prize prospect, but with the offseason additions to the roster, little can be assumed.

    "I feel like I'm on the team," Novak said. "I think pretty much all the guys that returned from last year feel they're on the team. But there are 19 guys. You understand there are going to be four cuts, four trades, four whatevers made.

    "I have to just come in here and compete like you're trying to make the team. As much as we feel we are on the team, very few guys are safe from being traded or cut. That's my approach, and I feel like if I come in and play that way, I'll have no regrets."

    He has made progress since Las Vegas. Playing as a small forward and power forward, Novak has picked up the scoring opportunities that he missed in his first weeks running the offense and has played without the hesitancy that marked his play in July.

    "I really started being very comfortable with the offense right when the full team was back and we started practicing together," Novak said. "Things started to kind of click. I started feeling very comfortable on the perimeter. I feel very good, and I feel I know how I should be used in the offense when it's going to be spreading the floor even more this year. I think I can spread the floor.

    Seeking a comfort level

    "There are a lot of intricacies that kind of take a lot of time to learn. There are so many reads and so many spur-of-the-moment things. In the summer league, I ran the four spot, and until I ran the three spot for a little while, I didn't realize the things I was missing when I was a four man. It takes time, but I do feel very comfortable with it now."

    But he never feels as comfortable as when he is at the 3-point arc. The trick is to be adequate enough elsewhere.

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com
     
  2. Painting_Shade

    Painting_Shade Contributing Member

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    I hope he makes it. He could be a great player for us in say 4 or 5 years... when everyone is old
     
  3. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    so now a feel-good novak story. so does this mean he won't be cut? :)
     
  4. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    Keep Novak!!!!
     
  5. AstroRocket

    AstroRocket Member

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    Translation of thread title: "Novak is F*cked"
     
  6. Coca Cola Scola

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    I wonder how much traffic a Novak thread would get. :D I wish he would get his act together on defense enough so we can use his shooting....there's just a dearth of good 3 point shooting and we certainly can use him. So, there will be four cuts/trades in addition to Sura. Well, we have

    Reed
    Lucas

    hopefully Snyder...

    the last cut is a little harder to decide. If we keep Rafer....and if Harris continues to show that he belongs, I'm starting to think it might be Butler. If we want to be a good defensive ball clubs, we can't have our center be a poor defender.....protecting the paint was one of the main reasons our defense was so strong. Or else, unfortunately it would have to be Harris.
     
  7. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    I want to see something from him tomorrow. Instead of wandering around on offense looking like he has no idea where to go or what to do, I want Novak to play with purpose and try to get open. IMO, he should play like Rip Hamilton, constantly move around to see if he can rub his guy off and get open. Then when he gets open looks Novak needs to drain the shots.
     
  8. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

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    I think he is on the bubble, I would keep Harris over Novak.

    DD
     
  9. drankcity

    drankcity Member

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    let's trade Novak to the suns...........anybody like that idea!
     
  10. battousai

    battousai Member

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    i think he will be traded. adelman said his specialty are needed in many other teams including the rockets. boosting his trade value up.
     
  11. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    Harris (keep in mind that I LOVE his hustle and would equally love to see him make the team) doesn't space the floor enough to keep him over Novak, IMO.

    You can learn defense and you can apply hustle, but it is difficult to learn that sweet stroke that Novak has on his shot. I could see him being our Stojakovic in 1-2 years. I would hate to give up on him like JVG did Boki and see him break out like Nachbar did last year.
     
  12. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

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    I would love for you to be right, but Harris reminds me of a poor man's Shawn Marion.

    And an athletic aggressive player at the SF position is a huge plus, especially with Yao not being quick to the ball on rebounding.

    And Boki is 10 times the athlete that Novak is.....

    DD
     
    #12 DaDakota, Oct 17, 2007
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2007
  13. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Novak is nothing like and never will be like Peja. Peja has serious NBA level offensive skills, even if he's a wimp. Novak can shoot jumpers, period. He has no handles and zero ability to go around people and finish like Peja.
     
  14. TeamUSA

    TeamUSA Member

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    Exactly.
     
  15. Yaozer

    Yaozer Member

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    Novak isn't going anywhere. At least not in this current Rockets team. His only chance of shining is probably reppin our team in the 3pt contest during allstar weekend. Sorry Novak, but not only do you have to develop a defense, but you also need to get a bit more of an offense.

    Oh and stop looking so lost. I know JVG's system is complicated like Shaq's Pythagorean game, but damn man, you had all season on the bench to study that book. Lets hope Adelman's system is much easier for him to study.
     
  16. SpiffyRifi

    SpiffyRifi Member

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    Steve seems a little cocky in his quotations...I think his confidence is misplaced. I like him and if we had the space to keep him I would, but right now I think there are 15-16 players at training camp ahead of him. So unless there is a trade to move some of these guys out of here...I don't think we'll see Novak in uniform.
     
  17. Yaozer

    Yaozer Member

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    I have never bought a jersey in my life, so if a player doesn't get that much minutes at all.. is his jersey sold cheaper?

    I know that ex players' jerseys are sold cheaper cus they don't play on the team anymore..
     
  18. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    So you are sayin Novak will break out in about 4 more years and finally play 20 minutes a game?
     
  19. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    I agree. A little too cocky with the guaranteed money. Not the same drive as Mike Harris. I like him but he's got to knock down 60% of his 3s to be a postive for us because his defense and rebounding are atrocious.
     
  20. professorjay

    professorjay Contributing Member

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    Really, Novak? I think he's on the bubble too, and there's a lot of other people on it too. I'd like to see what he's got, but so far he hasn't impressed at all.
     

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