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2014-15 Thunder player grades: Steve Novak was a team player

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Terrible stats, excellent work ethic, brilliant smile.

I would photoshop a glint in his teeth, but the smile does enough on it's own.
I would photoshop a glint in his teeth, but the smile does enough on it's own.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Full Name: Steven Michael Novak

Nickname: "Novakaine"

Contract Status: Signed for the 15-16 season at $3.75 Mil. After that, becomes a unrestricted free agent.

Notable Factoid: Copped Aaron Rodgers' famous discount double check celebration. Nate Robinson then stole it from Novak, and the two had a feud in January of 2013.

Player History:

Steve Novak was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Brown Deer High School. Novak practiced shooting from a very young age, and was on the varsity team for all four years. From 2002-2006, Novak played for Marquette. In Novak's Freshman year, the Golden Eagles went all the way to the Final Four. That team also featured Dwayne Wade and Travis Diener. Steve Novak's college accolades include the 02-03 Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year award, being named to the 02-03 Conference USA All-Freshman team, being named all first team Big East in 05-06, and winning the 2006 College Basketball 3 Point Contest.

In the 2006 NBA Draft, Steve Novak was selected with the 32nd pick by the Houston Rockets. Novak struggled to get regular NBA minutes between bouts in the D-League. Novak's most notable Houston moment came when he made a game winning three against the Kings on February 13th, 2008. It was Steve's only three of the game. In 2008, Novak was traded to the Clippers. There, he had a more regular role on an atrocious 18-64 Clipper team. Still, Steve did average 6.9 points per game while shooting 42% from three in 08-09.

2009 was the beginning of a bit of a downslope for Steve. The next year saw Steve's role on the Clippers reduced, and his percentages took a nosedive. The 10-11 season was worse, as Novak bounced between the Mavericks and Spurs and only appeared in 30 games.

2011 saw Steve's career turn back more towards the positive. Novak was signed by the Knicks, and came into their rotation mid-season. By the time the 11-12 season was over, Novak was seeing upwards of 20 minutes a game, averaged a career high 8.8 points, and led the league in three point percentage at 47%. Novak's abilities from beyond the arc landed him in the three point contest that year, which he lost. The Knicks even made the playoffs, losing 4-1 to the Heat in the first round. Steve's success with the Knicks continued in 2012-13. Novak shot 42% from three that season, as the Knicks went to the second round of the playoffs.

Despite Steve's role during the regular season, he found himself only getting spot minutes during New York's 2013 playoff run. Unsurprisingly, the Knicks dealt him to the Raptors in the Andrea Bargnani deal that off-season. Novak never quite caught on with Toronto, falling in and out of the rotation and only registering faint playoff minutes. However, Steve's three point percentage remained high, at 42%.

Novak was traded again in the off-season of 2013, this time to the re-building Utah Jazz. Utah was focused on developing young talent this year, so Novak was mostly seen as a locker room guy. 22 uneventful games in Utah went by, and at the trade deadline Novak was dumped to the Thunder with Enes Kanter.

Pre-Season Expectations:

Nobody expected much out of Novak when he joined the Thunder. Steve was always seen as a great locker room guy, and I've heard Brian Davis refer to him as "the nicest man in the NBA". But Novak has flamed out with three consecutive teams. Furthermore, Novak's lack of strength and speed really hinder him on defense. Novak's three point shooting certainly could have helped the Thunder out early in the season. But as OKC is currently constructed, Steve's redundant within the rotation.

Regular Season Grade: D+

Due to the continuing injuries that plagued the Thunder all year, there was a 12 game stretch where Novak appeared 11 times. Overall, Steve played in 13 games for OKC. Novak never made more than one field goal in a game and shot a career low 28% on the year. Two games were particularly bad for Novak. On March 25, Steve logged 20 minutes at the Spurs, going 1 for 5 and netting a -18 plus/minus rating. The next game, on March 28th, Novak logged 8.5 minutes at the Jazz, registering a -11 plus/minus rating in a loss. There were no real significantly positive games, I'm sorry to say.

Most Notable Game/Moment: Discount Double Checked by KD in practice

There's nothing from Steve Novak's Thunder career on YouTube, and all of the videos I could find on Google were boring interviews. So here's exclusive Vine footage from a time when KD beat Steve Novak in a practice shootout. All in good fun, of course.

Future Expectations:

To be brutally honest, Novak's biggest value at this point is as an expiring contract. However, with the NBA Salary cap possibly set to expand in 15-16, expiring contracts may not have much value next season. Either way, Novak will be a likely trade piece as soon as the playoffs are over. If Novak happens to stay, he will certainly have value as a locker room guy and spacing the floor in practice. Steve certainly knows the value of self-discipline, and having someone who tirelessly works on his game can have a wonderfully positive effect on the rest of the team.

Who knows? There's always the chance the double-check could make an end-of-game cameo.

What did you think of Steve Novak this season? Drop a comment and let us know!