Steve Novak

There are a few deals that change the entire identity of a team. One of those trades dealt Andrea Bargnani to New York, and brought picks and players to Toronto. Shedding an albatross was just part of Toronto’s motivation. The players they brought in are going to help the Raptors rebuild, and become a contender in the East once again. And one of those players is Steve Novak.

Drafted out of Marquette by Houston in 2006, Novak bounced around the NBA and D-League until he joined the New York Knicks on a veteran minimum deal. At that point, he already had a reputation as a spot up shooter, able to stretch the floor, and get hot from beyond the arc at a moment’s notice. But in New York, Novak became Novakaine, the cult hero who hit big threes in Madison Square Garden. Teams realized they had to guard him closely, or else he could light them up for 12 points, 15 points, in the blink of an eye.

New York’s loss is Toronto’s gain, and we caught up with the shooter to see how he’s adjusting to life in Toronto.

BALLnROLL: Hi Steve. So what did you know about Toronto before you came here?
Steve Novak: I have played here many times in the past so I was familiar with a little bit of the city but never really got to get out and explore much. Now that I have had a chance to see a few different areas and drive around a little bit, I’m really excited to live here and make it home. I know that it is considered among the players, as one of the best NBA cities so I can’t wait to get comfortable and really enjoy it.


BnR: Was there anything that has surprised you about the Raptors organization so far?
SN: I think the biggest thing that surprised me has been how great the staff is. I knew there had been some new faces being added and a feeling of a changing of guards in the organization of late. With that I expected there to be less of an identity. But we have already gotten together as a team once this summer including the staff and everyone already seems to have a vision for us this year and know what their role in it is. From what I’ve seen in a short time, it is one of the elite organizations in all of basketball.

BnR: How are you adjusting to the city so far? Do you have a favourite place to eat? Favourite neighbourhood yet?
SN: I have only really been able to drive around with my realtor and learn a few areas so I’m not that familiar yet but I haven’t eaten a bad meal yet. The other thing I’ve noticed though, is how nice everyone is. It is a big city where everyone says “Hi” to you and no-one even seems to honk!


BnR: Tell Raptors fans a bit more about Steve Novak – what does he like to do in his spare time?
SN: In my spare time or really in the summer I guess, I really enjoy playing golf and spending time with my family in Wisconsin where I grew up. We are away so much during the season that I try to spend as much time with my son and daughter.

BnR: Madison Square Garden when you got an open look for a three was electric – people on their feet even before you took the shot. How do you think you’ll feel playing there as a Raptor?
SN: Playing at Madison Square Garden for the last two seasons was very special. Weather for good or bad reasons, the Garden has a special place in every basketball fans heart and memory. It will be great to go back and play there. Playing former teams is always more meaningful because of your past there and your relationships. It is similar to playing in the city you grew up.

BnR: What do you think Raptors fans ought to expect from you?
SN: I think Raptor fans can expect me to be a big part of our team. In the NBA there are about 25 superstars, 150 starters, and the other 300 or so guys are role players. Throughout my career I’ve been one of those 300 guys. In coach Casey’s system, offensively and defensively I think I can be very successful and hope to continue to lead the league in 3 point shooting.

BnR: What’s your secret to sinking a three?
SN: I don’t really have any secrets when it comes to making threes. Two years ago I led the league in 3 point percentage and last year was in the top 10, but believe that it was all the work I put in on my shot in grade school and high school that made those percentages possible. Starting in 8th grade I would make 300 shots a day.


BnR: Do you have any last words for Knick fans?

SN: I don’t have any dramatic parting words for the Knicks. I was so blessed to be able to play there for two years and was really able to be who I am as a basketball player there. The fans treated me great and the organization always believed in me so I loved my time there.

BnR: Thanks so much for your time.


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