Is Randy Foye Worth It? – Wizards Guard Aiming High | Truth About It.net

Is Randy Foye Worth It? – Wizards Guard Aiming High

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Updated: January 20, 2010



{flickr/Keith Allison}

{flickr/Keith Allison}

Kevin McHale once told Randy Foye, “Anything [Dwyane Wade] can do, you can do.” I doubt Wade would have come up short in three crucial game situations as Foye did in Chicago, but the team and fans are finding out that the 26-year old might be worth keeping after this season. He has stepped up his play in Gilbert Arenas’ absence, and has proven to be a high character guy.

Not counting the blowout in Cleveland (because the Wizards were going through mental shock from the last-minute indefinite suspension of Arenas and Foye didn’t even start), in the seven games Foye has filled in as the Wizards’ starting point guard, he has averaged 18.6 points (.438 FG%), 7.1 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Of course, give any player more minutes and his numbers will go up. Foye has averaged 38:40 minutes over his last seven compared to 17:39 over his first 32 games. To put his latest stats in perspective, it’s best to compare his numbers per 36 minutes between the defined pre- and post-Gilbert Arenas eras [note: Foye's one missed game came November 14th against the Pistons; he had a sprained ankle].

Here are Randy’s per 36 numbers over the recent seven-game span with the amount of change from his first 32 in parenthesis:

  • Points17.29 (plus 1.80);
  • Assists6.65 (plus 3.65);
  • Turnovers1.73 (minus 0.31).
  • Randy has also gotten to the free-throw line more, attempting an additional 1.53 per 36 minutes.
  • All aforementioned per 36 numbers over this stretch would be career bests for Foye. The only area where he has had a noteworthy drop-off is in three-point percentage. He’s shooting 28% from deep in the last seven, down from 38.3% over his first 32 games.

Foye’s Turnover-Percentage (an estimate of turnovers per 100 plays), has decreased in each of his seasons in the league and stands at 11.4% this year. Foye’s TOV% through his first 32 games is 12.23%. His TOV% over the last seven is 9.78%. This marks significant improvement in Foye’s ability to manage a team without giving away possessions. Rounded up to 9.8, Foye’s seven-game TOV% would tie that of Danilo Gallinari as the twentieth lowest in the NBA, a ranking where it’s rare to see a point guard. The closest thing in the top twenty is Joe Johnson.

I don’t need to put these improved TOV% numbers into much perspective, but I will. Usage-Percentage is an estimate of the team plays used by a player while he is on the floor. In his first 32 games, Foye’s USG% was 20.7. In the last seven, it is up to 23.4%. Even though Foye been involved with more plays when on the floor, he has turned the ball over less per 100 possessions.

Foye’s Assist-Percentage, percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on on the floor, stands at 31.76% over the last seven games.

For historical comparison’s sake, I looked up all player seasons within the available time frame on Basketball-Reference.com (TOV% and USG% go back to the ’77-78 season, AST% goes back to the ’64-65 season) that fit the following criteria:

  • AST% >=31 and <=32
  • USG% >=23
  • TO% <= 11
  • Minutes played >= 2000

Ten seasons were returned: Gary Payton (4), 1999-2003; Terrell Brandon (2) 1995-97; LeBron James, 2005-06; Allen Iverson, 2005-06; Nick Van Exel, 2001-02; and Mahoud Abdul-Rauf, 1995-96. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Randy Foye and Gary Payton in the same post … but Foye is no where near the Glove on defense, so let’s not get carried away.

The absence of Arenas has created more opportunity for Foye than all other Wizards combined. So far, Randy isn’t hurting his case to be part of this team’s guard future, including running the point, his inability to adequately do so being the greatest knock on him to date. When you think about it, this is the most important stretch of basketball he’s played in his life, even more than his 2006 Elite Eight NCAA Tournament run with Villanova. This time, Foye is trying to set the stage for the rest of his basketball career in hopes of landing a lucrative new contract.

After this season, the relationship between the Wizards and Foye likely plays out one of these three ways:

  1. Do not extend Foye the qualifying offer by the June 30 deadline. The fifth-year qualifying offer, which is a 30% raise over the fourth year of Foye’s current rookie contract, would amount to around $4.8 million for him in 2010-11. If the Wizards do not extend, Foye becomes an unrestricted free-agent and he is  all but gone from Washington.
  2. Extend the qualifying offer, thinking that one year of Foye is a bargain at $4.8 million … in the least. Ernie Grunfeld can then low ball, or not negotiate at all, and wait to see if any team makes an offer to Foye that’s reasonable for the Wizards to match or decline if the price is too high. If Foye doesn’t receive an offer sheet, as the Summer ’10 free-agent money could dry up or Foye might not be worth a team tying up their money for the seven days the Wizards would have to match, and he and the Wizards can’t come to agreeable terms, he would be forced to accept the one-year qualifying and play out another season trying to earn a contract.
  3. The Wizards extend qualifying offer as a formality and enter negotiations with Foye for a long-term deal, which could include the initial low offer aspect. But the third option is still the best case scenario for all parties interested, meaning that Foye will have an impression.

So what’s Foye worth?
This is one area where Randy would love to be compared to Brandon Roy, but let’s go much lower than Roy’s 5-year, $82 million extension he signed last summer. Keep going lower than Ben Gordon’s 5-year, $58 million from Detroit. Ears perk up when you get into Marvin Williams’ 5-year $40 million range or Charlie Villanueva’s 5-year, $35 million range, but it still seems like a lot. I currently see Foye in the Jarrett Jack 4-year, $20 million or Ramon Sessions 4-year, $16.4 million range. He’s still unproven.

That being said, I think Foye has a lot more talent and potential than either Jack or Sessions. There’s a reason Foye was taken seventh overall in the 2006 draft. Depending upon consistent quality play, he has a chance to get himself into a 4-year, $25 million range to 5-year, $35 million range. I still could be underselling Foye’s potential by around $10 million, considering to whom I’ve statistically compared him. But most of those guys were All-Stars, seven games does not make one of those, especially “in this economy.”

With Arenas likely done for the season, Grunfeld will have 42 more games to judge Foye, who obviously has the same amount of time to prove himself. Flip Saunders, who surely will have a say in the matter, seems more satisfied with Foye’s play as of late, but admits that his adjustment to the point guard role, a position that might serve Randy best, is still a … {wait for the favorite word of Washington NBA coaches and team presidents}process.

“He’s still learning. He’s still Curley Neal every now and then, watching the Harlem Globetrotters out there dribbling all around,” said Saunders after Saturday’s victory over the Sacramento Kings. “I got on him at half a few times. He’s got to make quicker decisions. It’s not because he’s trying to not do the right thing. He’s very coach-able. The more he’s in those situations, the better he’s going to get. He did a better job at game management down the stretch tonight than maybe [against the Bulls] as far as making sure that we make them defend either Caron or Antawn in mis-match type situations.”

Saunders is describing a reason why his former point guard, Chauncey Billups, is so good. Mr. Big Shot can drain the big jumper when needed. And you can see Foye possessing the tools with his smooth jumper and ability to nail buckets off ball screens. However, Billups also knows when to get the rock into the hands of the stud players, whether it be Carmelo Anthony in Denver or any number of options he had in Detroit.

“Randy is still going through the process of learning [the point guard] position,” said Saunders after Monday’s win over the Portland Trailblazers.  “At times I want to strangle him, and other times I want to hug him. But that’s part of the process.” Saunders went on to describe how any time an offense, such as his or Larry Brown’s, is dominated by a point guard, the coach tends to ride those players a little harder because it makes them better in the long run.

With much of the process revolving around Foye’s decision making, he needs to limit ill-advised attempts early in the shot clock and stop wasting precious seconds with unproductive dribbles, a la Earl Boykins. Saunders must have higher expectations/hope for Foye because I’ve seen him react more emotionally over Randy’s decision making than over similar gaffes from Boykins.

After the Portland game, I asked Randy about his progression as an NBA point guard. Here’s the video:

Will Randy Foye be worth it? As outlined, there’s plenty of time for the process to play out. Foye is off to a worthy start. His character, supported by his charitable contributions at such a young age, and his coach-ability will certainly be factors. He’s already a good guy and learning under Flip Saunders for the rest of the season can only make him a better player.



[Sources: HoopsWorld, Basketball-Reference.com]



3 Comments

  1. Anthony

    January 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

    ramon sessions put up some ridiculous numbers in limited time in his last stop. and couldn’t get any interest.

    i think it would be prudent to move slowly in the offseason, let the market determine the value for all their free agents, don’t overpay anyone to stay. if someone wants to take same money to play elsewhere. let em go.

    they let the market determine his value, and put incentives in his contract. i don’t understand why more teams outside of Florida don’t do this.

    orlando saved millions on nick anderson because he failed to attempt 4 freethrows a game. miami has weight/conditioning incentives.

  2. Truth About It

    January 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I agree, moving slowly is the way to go and ‘very’ Ernie Grunfeld. At this point, it seems like Foye might be well on his way to earning a qualifying offer extension in the least.

  3. guglio

    January 20, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Great article. Keep ‘em coming. By the by your assist number of 6.65 and turnover stat of 1.73 yield an awesome asist to turnover ration of 3.84!

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