By Amy Ansalone, Knicks Fan Since '91
Steve Novak, Forward, Marquette
Drafted: 2006 by the Houston Rockets, 2nd Round (32nd overall)
Steve Novak entered the 2006 NBA draft after four successful years at Marquette University. Averaging 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game during his time there, Novak ended his college career in 10th place on the Golden Eagles' all-time point list. He was also the school’s all-time leader in free throw percentage and all-time career leader in 3-pointers, hitting 354 of them.
During his freshman year, Novak earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors and was also named C-USA Sixth Man of the Year. As a senior, his sharp-shooting skills on the court earned him a unanimous First-Team All-Big East selection. Novak even won the college 3-point shooting contest at Hinkle Field House in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Novak entered the draft, along with top players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, J.J. Redick, Rajon Rondo and Thabo Sefolosha, who were already generating a lot of buzz. The first pick was the Italian professional player, Andrea Bargnani, who was selected by the Toronto Raptors. LaMarcus Aldridge was chosen second by the Chicago Bulls, only to have his draft rights immediately traded to the Portland Trailblazers.
After a long wait through the first round, Steve Novak was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 32nd pick, where he would share the court with fellow teammates Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming and Shane Battier.
Novak’s NBA career started off slowly as a rookie with the Rockets. At the start of the 2007 season, he was assigned to the NBA D-League, where he spent one month before being recalled by the Rockets. In 2008, he hit a buzzer beater that kept the Rockets’ 22-game winning streak alive before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
He remained with the Clippers for two seasons and continued to improve his scoring, particularly from downtown. In 2010, Novak signed a free agent deal with the Dallas Mavericks, only to be released by the team a few months later and then acquired by another D-League team. Fortunately for him, the San-Antonio Spurs recognized his ability as a 3-point threat and recalled him from the D-League.
His release from the Spurs in 2011 brought Novak to the New York Knicks, where he remains today. A fan favorite, Novak is nicknamed “Novakaine” for his numbing, sharp-shooting shots from beyond the arc. At the end of the 2011-2012 season, Novak proved to be a major threat to his opponents as he was the league leader in 3-point percentage, at 47.2%.