The three-point shot has become an important weapon in basketball today. Like the “closer” specialist in baseball, teams are now depending on players that can hit the three with regularity, even if that is their only function on the team. Over the past few years, we have seen in the NBA a handful of players whose role is to come off the bench and open up the offense by draining a few three-pointers.
The poster child for this has been Marquette grad Steve Novak. Currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Novak is in his 10th season in the league. He has played for eight teams in that span. Novak’s role with many of those teams? Come off the bench and give his team some instant offense via the three. And he has been quite good in that role.
Novak’s shot selection in his career his been very distinct: In 456 NBA games, Novak has taken 1,704 shots, 1,325 from three-point range and only 379 shots from inside the three-point line. Novak is the only player in NBA history to have made over 500 three-point shots and less than 200 from inside the three-point arc (he has made 572 three-pointers and 175 two-pointers).
Novak is also the only player in NBA history to have two seasons where he made more than 100 three-point shots with less than 50 two-point shots made (he did it in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as a member of the New York Knicks).
Following is a look at the eight players in NBA history who made 100 or more three-pointers in a season with less than 50 two-pointers made.
Year, Player, Team (two-pointers made/three-pointers made)
2013-14, Anthony Tolliver, Charlotte (27/102)
2012-13, Shane Battier, Miami (16/136)
2012-13, Jason Kidd, New York Knicks (38/114)
2012-13, Steve Novak, New York Knicks (29/149)
2011-12, Matt Bonner, San Antonio (49/105)
2011-12, Steve Novak, New York Knicks (28/133)
2010-11, James Jones, Miami (23/123)
2007-08, Damon Jones, Cleveland (36/115)
2005-06, James Posey, Miami (42/117)
Novak is one of three NBA players who has made over 500 three-pointers in his career while making less than 500 two-pointers (as noted above Novak has 572 threes and 175 two-pointers). The others: James Jones (409/731) and Daniel Gibson (487/578).
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In the “Lin-sanity” that is Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks recent resurgence, lost to some has been the play of another bench player, Steve Novak. The Milwaukee native and Marquette grad has provided much-needed offense off the bench for the Knicks, especially from three-point range. Here’s a few stats on Novak’s play in the past few weeks. (Stats are through games of February 29.)
2. For his NBA career, Novak has attempted 863 shots, 626 of them from three-point range. (72.5% of his shot attempts). This season, Novak has taken 107 shots, 86 of them from behind the arc (over 80% of his shots).
3. Novak has played in 24 of the Knicks 36 games this season. In the first 12 games Novak played, the Knicks were 4-8. In the past 12 games he played, the Knicks are 9-3. In those first 12 games, he did not score in double figure in any game. In the past 12 contests, he has scored in double figures in eight of the 12 games. In his previous 12 games he scored a total of 41 points, shooting 44.4% from the arc. In his last 12 games, Novak is averaging 12.7 points per game and is shooting just under 47% from three-point range.
4. In the first 12 games he played in the 2011-12 season, Novak’s longest playing time in a game was just over 19 minutes. In the last 12 games, Novak has played more than 16 minutes in each game, with a high of 29 1/2 minutes in one contest.
5. In his NBA career, Novak has a shooting percentage of .472 from three-point range in games his teams won. In games his teams lost, Novak has a shooting percentage of .396.
6. His NBA career stats show that Novak really starts to find his range from three-point land the longer he plays in a game. If he plays 0-9 minutes, his three-point pct is .356; if he plays 10-19 minutes in a game, his three-point pct is .415; if he plays 20-29 minutes, his three-point pct is .470; and if he plays 30-39 minutes, his three-point pct is .500.