There was a mini-spike in Randy Foye news last week. On Monday, after watching a video about Foye on NBA.com, I wondered if he could be ‘the’ difference maker.
On Wednesday, the WaPost’s Michael Lee put together a nice piece on Foye off his notes from a previous meeting. Here, we learned of a potential style conflict between Foye and former T-Wolves head coach, current Wizards assistant, Randy Wittman. Lee also related something Kevin McHale once told Foye before a matchup against Dwyane Wade, “Anything he can do, you can do.” Foye battled and finished with 29 points to Wade’s 31. The game came down to a last second foul call that Foye did not get … Wade probably would have.
Predating Wade-Foye comparisons, looking back into John Hollinger’s vault, we find Foye associated with Vinny Del Negro. Before he was drafted in ’06, ESPN compared Foye to Ben Gordon, while NBADraft.net to Chauncey Billups. But it was DraftExpress FTL … in their ‘best’ case, Randy Foye is Mike James; worst case, Juan Dixon. Yuck.
Clearly it’s time to use historical record to compare Foye. Here are the requirements that I plugged into Basketball-Reference.com:
Looking for a season in which a player was:
- 6’4″ or shorter
- TO% between 11.5 and 12.5
- More than 5 assists per 48
- Between 20 and 25 points per 48
- PER > 13.5
- 60 or more games
- over 200 total rebounds
The answer: Three seasons: Jason Terry (01-02, age 24), Randy Foye (08-09, age 25), and Gary Payton (92-93, age 24).
Check their career Turnover Percentage Curve. All three players significantly improved through their third season.
In regard to Foye’s turnovers, the stats below are from 82games.com.
*(Position %: “represents the percentage of the team’s total minutes the player was at that position.”)
Remembering that he only played 39 games in 07-08, Foye’s percentage of turnovers due to ball handling remains consistent. It’s his bad passing and decision making which get worse with increased time at the point. In his most recent season, Foye averaged 2.2 TOV/48 minutes at SG, and 3.9 at the PG spot.
Now look at each player’s career Assist Percentage Curve. Terry, who holds a career 25.2 assist percentage, has AST%/TO% ratios that remain relatively consistent with each other. Payton remains mostly in the lower part of the 10-15 TOV% range, while his AST% spiked to seven straight years of 35+.
Foye’s AST%, however, has remained flat. He’s shown he can get better at taking care of the ball, but the clear inefficiency is his inability to create for teammates.
Foye may have the size to get to the basket like a young Gary Payton, and the spot up shooting ability of Terry, but he is far from being either player. Which brings me back to the Mike James/Juan Dixon, ‘best case/worst case’ assessment. Their PER 36 career averages, and some select advanced statistics, are eerily similar.
What does it all mean? Who exactly is Randy Foye?
Well, he’s Randy Foye, not anyone else. He’s bigger than both Dixon and James, with the ability to finish strong at the hoop. Also, unlike James who is more of a gunner sans conscious, Foye can spot up and play off a teammate’s driving ball movement. And although Foye’s defense has been questioned, he has more tools than the others in the area. Foye is clearly the most talented of the three, and that’s where comparisons should end.
So who is Randy Foye? I still don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.