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steve novak

Better Know a (Probable) Knick: Steve Novak

At this very second, the Knicks, just five days away from their season opener, have fifteen players on their roster. You're only allowed to have twelve active players, and up to sixteen, minus injured lists (which is where Baron Davis will be when the season begins). The Knicks are almost there, a shockingly quick roster construction in a cartoonishly compressed "off-season." This has happened so fast that Tyson Chandler, who signed his contract ten days ago, already seems like a grizzled Knicks vet.

With one slot left — though the Knicks still have their $2.5 million exception unused, if they wanted to sneak that in — the Knicks are about to grab something they've been missing since learning Shawne Williams would sign with the Nets: a tall three-point specialist. Adrian Wojnarowski, who is so good at breaking stories that he breaks little stories like this one, probably while napping, reported last night that the Knicks were about to sign specialist Steve Novak to a minimum contract. Novak later tweeted "Next stop … NY,” but then deleted it. It's kind of funny to think Steve Novak could make enough news through Twitter that he'd feel compelled to delete a tweet, 'cause, you know, of all the heat.

We went to several Knicks practices last year, and we were always amused to see Andy Rautins —as the rest of the Knicks were running drills and scrimmaging — standing off at a side hoop with an assistant just for him, doing nothing but shooting threes. This is the NBA equivalent of a kicker who practices by himself while his teammates run through NFL training camp two-a-days. Novak, for all intents and purposes, is a taller Rautins: He is here solely to shoot three-pointers. He was in the D-League just last year, but ended up signing with the San Antonio Spurs and even got into a playoff game. (He had one rebound in six minutes.) His "best" season was with the Clippers, back in 2008–09, when he averaged six points a game and even started thrice.

His job is to drain threes and maybe provide some slight perimeter defense; essentially, just do what Shawne Williams was supposed to do. We miss Extra E already. Novak's most famous NBA moment was a three-pointer for the Rockets back in 2008 that kept their crazy 22-game winning streak alive.

So, where does leave the Knicks roster? Let's look:

Mike Bibby
Baron Davis (injured)
Toney Douglas
Landry Fields
Devin Green
Iman Shumpert

Carmelo Anthony
Renaldo Balkman
Chris Hunter
Jared Jeffries
Steve Novak
Amar'e Stoudemire
Bill Walker

Tyson Chandler
Josh Harrellson
Jerome Jordan

That's not quite a championship roster ... but that'll sure be fun. Basketball Prospectus's SCHOENE rating system sees big things, particularly when/if Davis gets here. The Knicks still have a little money at the margins, but there aren't many free agents left. This might be it. This might be fine. Dunno about you, but we're about ready to begin this business.

Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images