According to ESPN.com, the Denver Nuggets have finalized a three-team deal that will send Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade for a $9 million trade exception. Additionally, Denver will receive free agent shooting guard Randy Foye from the Utah Jazz, who took back draft picks as well as Richard Jefferson, Andres Biedrins and Brandon Rush — all of whom possess expiring contracts — from the Warriors. From the Nuggets’ standpoint, Foye will bring much-needed outside shooting to Denver, as he ranked seventh last season in the NBA in 3-pointers made with 178 on a 41 percent clip from beyond the arc. But aside from his long-distance shooting prowess, not much else is known about the journeyman combo guard; therefore, RMC reached out to fellow TrueHoop blogger Andy Larsen of Salt City Hoops.com to learn more about the newest addition to the Denver Nuggets.
1. Randy Foye started 72 games last season for the Jazz, the most in his seven-year career. What was his role with the team and why did Ty Corbin trust him so much?
I think Corbin saw Foye’s shooting skills as a logical complement to the post-heavy game of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, making it difficult for opponents to double team the two post men due to the threat of outside shooting from Foye and Mo Williams. I think most Jazz fans would have preferred one of Hayward, Burks, or Carroll to start at that spot instead, but you can see what Corbin was thinking.
2. Foye appears to be more of a shooting guard than a point guard. Is this an accurate assessment of his position? And just how good are his point guard skills?
It is. Foye’s capable of bringing the ball up and initiating the offense, but doesn’t really set up his teammates well (just two assists per game last season) or run the pick-and-roll well (just 0.64 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ballhandler according to mySynergySports.com). He’s not fast, so he can’t really lead a break, and he isn’t great at creating his own offense. Really, you’re just not left with much of a point guard game at all, and so his skills are more efficiently used off the ball.
3. Foye was seventh in the league last year in 3-pointers made. Is 3-point shooting his greatest strength?
Easily, 3-point shooting is Foye’s greatest strength and where he contributes most of his value. Last season, he shot a higher percentage from outside of the arc than inside of it. He’s pretty good at recognizing this, though, as he also took a majority of his shots from beyond 3-point range. If I were a coach, I’d use him pretty exclusively as a spot-up 3-point shooter to provide spacing.
4. Foye ranks well below average in several advanced defensive metrics (255th in the NBA in isolation plays, 279th in overall defensive possesions according to mySynergySports.com). What’s his effort like defensively and is there potential for improvement on this end of the floor?
His effort’s actually pretty good, and he surprisingly made some crucial defensive plays last season in the clutch. His 82games.com PER-against numbers are pretty decent, and he actually was featured in a column last year saying, “My main focus has been defense.” However, given his fairly small size and wingspan, as well as average athleticism at this point in his career, you wouldn’t want him guarding some of the bigger or more talented wings in the NBA (who were covered by either Marvin Williams or Gordon Hayward). I do think his defensive stats last season were significantly hurt by having Al Jefferson behind him. He’s not a defensive star, but he shouldn’t be your biggest worry.
5. In general, how productive was Foye during his lone year in Utah and how was he perceived by the fans?
He set the Jazz record for most threes in a season in his lone year here, and was pretty well liked and respected for that reason. That being said, fans were also frustrated that he was getting so much playing time over Hayward, Burks, and Carroll, and was part of a pretty terrible starting lineup. Those decisions weren’t his fault, obviously, but it did frustrate some. I think he’s a casualty of the Jazz’s rebuild this offseason, rather than a case of a player wearing out his welcome. If the Jazz had the same aspirations as last season, Foye would probably be back.