This piece was written by new staff writer Bill Canzoneri.Forward Steve Novak was officially signed by the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, confirming several rumors surrounding the free agent.
Novak secured a buyout Friday from Denver and, according to league sources, is poised to sign with the Bucks once he gets through waivers
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2016
“Steve has always been a terrific shooter from distance,” said Bucks GM John Hammond. “He’s a great teammate who can provide some veteran leadership to our young roster, and we’re excited to welcome him back to Milwaukee.”
The 32-year-old veteran is back home, where his career started as a star at Brown Deer High School, and later Marquette University. He was a freshman on the Final Four Golden Eagle squad led by Dwyane Wade (and fellow local Travis Diener of the famous basketball family) in 2003.
The Bucks subsequently cut ties with forward Chris Copeland. He was brought in to provide some much-needed perimeter shooting depth for a team sorely needing it. After an opening night start where he played 19 minutes, Copeland rarely saw the floor. He lacks experience as a 31-year-old only playing in his fourth NBA season, and his questionable defense is a known commodity. Copeland’s biggest strength, (and only real reason for being in the
NBA) his 3P%, has continued to dip (from .418 to .311 to now .278) since his sophomore year with the Pacers just two seasons ago.
Novak told the press this morning that he “always dreamed of playing for the Bucks.” The 6’10” forward indicated his desire to help the team in the locker room and on the court. His outstanding 43.2% three-point shooting is sixth all time in NBA history, so there’s no doubt he will help space out the floor for the Bucks slash and post play-centric roster. He’s a much more established shooter (plus he’s taller!) than the much-maligned Copeland. However, the veteran is playing on his ninth team since being drafted, and is also known as a questionable defender. The Bucks swarming defense certainly doesn’t play to his strengths.
You would have to think that he will see the hardwood at some point; why bother to buy out Copeland otherwise? Forward depth is lacking as well, with Johnny O’ Bryant now seemingly out of the rotation. Either way, it’s always great to have a local kid come home, especially a good-guy sharpshooting forward like Novak.