Opening Tip: Steve Novak's future role

Every weekday morning throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: How do you foresee Steve Novak's playing time changing or not looking ahead?

It went a bit overlooked Wednesday night against the Sixers, but sharpshooter Steve Novak didn't connect on a single 3-pointer. It was the first time he had done that since Jan. 14 in at least a few minutes of playing time.

In fact, Novak didn't even attempt a long ball, but he played his fewest minutes since Feb. 6, right at the start of Linsanity.

There were two reasons for that. One was because the Sixers -- the best defensive team in the league (87.5 points allowed per game) -- were all over him like football players on top of a fumble. The second was because Mike Woodson went with more of a defensive lineup in the second half, focusing on J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert off the bench. Both players have been stepping up their efforts on the perimeter lately.

While Novak impressed Mike D'Antoni earlier on the season with his defense, it's still not one of his strong suits. It will be interesting to see how Woodson, more of a defensive-minded coach, fits Novak into his rotation. Novak is obviously needed for his 3-point shooting -- the Knicks are still fourth-worst in the NBA in percentage (32.0) -- and that especially helps the team build quick leads and momentum swings.

Keep in mind, however, the Sixers feature a slightly smaller lineup than most teams, which is why Smith and Shumpert saw the court more. So tonight against the Raptors, Novak should likely get back to his about 15 to 20 minutes per game.

But, hey, if it doesn't happen on the road in Toronto, Woodson will be hard-pressed not to play him more at the Garden. Or he'll hear it from the crowd with "No-vak, No-vak" chants all night.

How do you foresee Novak's playing changing or not looking ahead? Leave us your comments below.

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