NBA Rookie Progress Reports: Randy Foye

NBA Rookie Progress Reports: Randy Foye
Dec 11, 2006, 04:01 pm
15.0 Minutes, 5.9 Points, 1.7 Rebounds, 1.6 Assists
1.5 Turnovers, 0.9 Steals, 39.1% FG, 80.7% FT

If there is one thing that has remained consistent during Randy Foye’s struggles, it has been his ability to raise his level of play in the clutch. Few players are as confident as Foye when they have the ball late in a close game. Though he hasn’t had a ton of chances to shine in the fourth quarter, he has shown flashes of greatness when given the opportunity. Minnesota’s November 25th game against the Los Angeles Clippers is an especially good example of Foye’s ability to produce under pressure.

The game entered the fourth quarter with the Clippers holding a commanding 81-69 advantage over the Timberwolves. Foye entered the quarter with a single point, and appeared bound for another mediocre performance. In the final twelve minutes, he shot, drove, and slashed his way to an impressive 14 points leading Minnesota to a 104-96 victory. He knocked down both three-pointers he took during the quarter, used his athleticism to create scoring opportunities for himself inside, and locked down his man on defense. If you’re looking for some insight into what kind of player Foye can be in the NBA, this game was it.

Foye followed up this performance with two solid outings in subsequent games against Houston and Dallas, but hasn’t shown the same poise since then. While he shown the ability to take over late in a game, he is yet to show any sort of consistency. In fact, two of his worst shooting games came after his three best.

The most glaring difficulties Foye has had this season are visible in his shooting percentages. Through 19 games, Foye’s field goal percentage is a surprising low 39.1%. He has had no problem creating open looks for himself off the dribble, but hasn’t been knocking them down. He can get almost anywhere he wants on the floor, and can create space to get his shot off with minimal difficulty. His form is solid when he has space, but he sometimes short arms the ball when he feels a defender bearing down on him from the right side. This is likely the result of his limited opportunities. With experience and repetition, Foye’s shot should improve as the season goes along. He has shown inconsistent range out past the NBA three-point line, but it will be tough to say how comfortable he will be from deep until we see his midrange game round into form. The consistency on his mid range shot, good or bad, will be the defining characteristic of his rookie season.

Foye has been more productive using scoops and floaters to score around the rim than he has shooting from the outside. He has displayed explosive quickness when attacking the basket as well as the capacity to use his strength and vertical leap to finish above defenders. There aren’t many players with comparable athleticism to Foye at his size. Couple his physical skills with his great ball-handling ability, and you have a recipe for success.

Though Foye’s ball skills would seem conducive to great point guard play, he hasn’t really shown a lot of discernable playmaking ability. He is capable of playing minutes at the point, but won’t be making a fulltime move their any time soon. Turnovers have plagued him early on, but this is likely due to the fact that he is pressing to get back into his flow offensively. He has had to find different ways to score since he can no longer rely as heavily on his jump shot, so he hasn’t been as comfortable making plays.

Defensively, Foye’s game is defined by the same attributes that make him effective on the offensive end. His great strength and quickness make him tough to beat off the dribble, but at only 6-4, he isn’t going to be able to contest the shots of taller guards. He does a good job keeping his man out of the paint, but has some occasional lapses when defending the weak side. Foye works hard on the defensive end, and his intensity has translated into turnovers.

While Foye was a lot of peoples’ early favorite for rookie of the year, he won’t be in contention if he doesn’t improve his offensive consistency. He can be deadly when his mid range shot is falling because it facilitates the rest of his game. If he continues to struggle, his entire game will continue to suffer. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Foye turn things around after the All-Star break like Rashad McCants, so we’ll be monitoring his progress as the season progresses. Next month, we’ll take a more in depth look into Foye’s shooting struggles and how they have led to him turning the ball over.

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