This off season hasn’t been a crazy, busy one for the Utah Jazz. With that being said, the Jazz did make a trade for three point shooting specialist, Steve Novak. There have been a lot of opinions about the trade the Jazz made, but the majority of those opinions have been floating solely around Jazz Nation.
I got a chance to talk with Brian Boake, who is the editor at Raptors Rapture, the Toronto Raptors Fansided Website. Novak played in Toronto last season, however, played very minimal. I asked Brian a few questions such as, what we can expect from Novak this season, and more. You can read it all below.
P&B: The Utah Jazz traded for Steve Novak and a future 2nd round pick, and sent the Toronto Raptors our back up point guard, Diante Garrett, who the Raptors waived. How does the trade effect both teams, good and bad?
Brian: The Raptors needed salary cap space, and dumping Novak was an easy way to find some. Toronto wants to play a faster tempo this year, and Novak was redundant after Patrick Patterson re-signed. Patterson is fine as a “stretch-4″, and can do a lot more. Novak is limited to long-bombing.
P&B: What was the biggest thing that Novak brought to the table for the Raptors?
Brian: He was a late-in-the-quarter threat from deep, but wasn’t given much more than that to do. Dwane Casey, our coach, doesn’t have a lot of minutes for players who can’t defend.
P&B: What was something that Novak struggled with that, in your eyes, hurt the Raptors?
Brian: Nothing. Novak did what he could in limited minutes. He is not a fit with the team as configured. I suspect he went to GM, Masai Ujiri, and said he would welcome a trade.
P&B: What can you tell Jazz fans to expect from Novak this upcoming season?
Brian: If you need points in a hurry, he can provide them. He is like a relief pitcher with only a fastball, the opponents usually make the needed adjustments.
P&B: Utah is not only about trying to bring in talent that fits their roster, but also like to bring in high character people. What can you say about Novak off the court?
Brian: Novak is a solid citizen type. You will not have any problems with him off the court.
P&B: Jazz fans look at the stats and believe Novak can help this young Jazz team. From another team’s perspective, can he ACTUALLY help, or is that more just wishful thinking?
Brian: Will he help – Yes. Will he be a difference maker – No.
P&B: If you were the coach of the Utah Jazz, would you start Novak, bring him off the bench as a role player, or bench him?
Brian: I would have to know more about the Jazz roster to give a strong answer, but I will say this: if he starts, then you’re in trouble. A team with any “decent” power forward will torch him for 30 points.
P&B: Looking at Toronto’s roster, and looking at the trade that was made with the Jazz, would you still trade Novak, or would you rather have him still in Toronto?
Brian: For his sake, he needed out. There is no point in having unhappy players, particularly veterans. We used “his” money to sign James Johnson, who is the defensive wing we needed.
P&B: Utah and Toronto are matching up this season and the game is all tied up with a few seconds left on the clock. New Jazz head coach, Quin Snyder, puts Novak in the game and draws up a play that frees him up for a three, and the win. As he is shooting, and as a Raptors fan, are you A) confident the game is headed to overtime, B) just a little uneasy, or C) scared to death because you know that Novak is a deadly shooter?
Brian: He is a deadly shooter, but the Raptors know that. He won’t get any room to breath, and he cannot create his own shot. Some other Jazz player will have to take the shot for the win.
P&B: As a fan of another team, do you pay much attention to the Jazz, and what is your thoughts on the team?
Brian: I saw the Jazz in person last season at the Air Canada Centre, and thought they were woeful. It is one thing to lose, it is quite another to not even make a professional effort. If memory serves, the Jazz started the season horribly, but seemed to be more competitive as the season progressed. I don’t think you guys will miss Marvin Williams. You must still be mourning the departure of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. I like Gordon Hayward, but not as the primary offensive weapon. He is a nice complementary piece, however. The young Jazz players like Enes Kanter and Dante Exum have to take forward steps, but I can’t see the Jazz in the playoffs yet.
After all the Jazz related talk, I had to give him a chance to talk a little bit about his own team, so we threw in a quick bonus question for him to answer.
P&B: What can we see from the Raptors this season, and can they improve off last year’s success and make a deeper run in the playoffs?
Brian: The Raptors are fundamentally sound, and should win at least 50 games. All the free agents we wanted back, like Kyle Lowry, Greivis Vasquez, and Patrick Patterson, were eager to return, and did. Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas are rising stars. The bench will be a positive, and a young team like ours should be able to avoid the injury bug. Fans have high expectations. Toronto is a huge city, with a lot of competition for sports’ fans dollars, as every major sport has a team here (except the NFL, but that may change in the future also).
The Raptors have become important on the local scene, and can easily continue to increase their already high profile with another successful season. Whether they will push aside the Toronto Maple Leafs as number one in the city’s heart is unlikely, but possible. We are a city of immigrants, so there is a lot of people living here now who have grown up in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean or elsewhere loving basketball, but not hockey. The Raptors fan base is much younger than that of the Leafs, and I suspect the Blue Jays as well.
Before the conversation that I had with Brian, who by the way is a great guy and who I greatly appreciate for helping out with this article, I was excited about Novak coming to this young Jazz team. I still am excited to see what he can do with a new team, but the excitement level has dropped a bit.
The Jazz were wanting to bring in a “stretch-4″ type player to work in Quin Snyder’s offensive system. However though, I can see Snyder saying the same thing that Brian said regarding coach Dwane Casey, that “he doesn’t have a lot of minutes for players who can’t defend.”
We could potentially see Novak in the same type of role that he was in with Toronto last season. Novak could be a late minutes player, or a guy who is brought in to score points in a hurry. After talking a bit with Brian, it makes me think more that the other new Jazz player, Trevor Booker, could be ahead of him in the pecking order as far as minutes go.
Once again, I greatly appreciate Brian for answering some questions about Steve Novak, the Utah Jazz, and talking a little bit about his own team, the Toronto Raptors. After reading another team’s fans perspective, does it change your opinion on the trade the Jazz made for Steve Novak?