TBG Player Previews 2016-2017: Randy Foye

Randy Foye
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Randy Foye, guard

2015-2016: 20.3 MPG, 5.9 PPG, 2.0 APG, 1.9 RPG, 0.5 SPG, .04 BPG, .351 FG%, .300 3PT%, .824 FT%, 81 G

Who is Randy Foye?

Randy Foye is 6’4 combo guard that came to the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent after the team’s massive offer sheets to restricted free agents Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe were matched by the Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers, respectively . In short, he represents “Plan B” for the franchise as they signed potential projects and high-character veterans to one-year deals.

While recent statistics and age suggest that his best basketball is now behind him, he’s a veteran that Nets’ brass can put on a pedestal for its host of young players trying to make their mark. Foye is everything that general manager Sean Marks is looking for in a player: he plays multiple positions, he does a host of things well on the court, and most of all he’s a pro’s pro. His on-court impact may be diminished — and absent some Kenny Atkinson witch-doctoring to his jumper, that trend may continue — but he’ll likely make much of his impact behind-the-scenes, teaching this young team how approach each game and put themselves in a position to succeed.

2015-2016 Recap

Foye had his second consecutive down year playing for both the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015-2016. He recorded a field goal percentage 50 points lower than his career average (35% vs. 40%) and shot even worse from beyond the arc, connecting on a mere 30% of his three-pointers.

On February 19th, the flailing Nuggets traded away the struggling guard to the Thunder in exchange for point guard D.J. Augustin, three-point marksman Steve Novak and two second-round picks. While Oklahoma City welcomed the veteran presence, the transaction was largely a financial one saving the Thunder from luxury tax implications.

Even with Oklahoma City’s improved roster, Foye’s shooting numbers failed to increase. Foye took on the role of a third guard in the rotation, often playing off the ball as Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant initiated the team’s offense. Instead, shockingly, Foye’s impact was made on the defensive end. As Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman wrote in June: “…his defense was surprisingly sturdy, showing solid strength and lateral quickness for a guard while chipping in 13 blocks and 13 steals.”

And sharing Sean Marks’ impression of the veteran player, Slater added: “Foye injected a composed, mature demeanor into the locker room and onto the court.” In fact, when he was benched early in a playoff series with the Spurs he gave the team a dose of his professionalism by entering Game 4 for the first time in the series and initiating an instant offensive spark.

What Did the Pundits Say?

Honestly, not too much — and that’s fine, as it was neither a high profile signing or a player that could be potentially crucial future-piece. Foye was signed in the dog days of free agency as teams finalized their roster, and he was among a rush of one-year-deals that Bobby Marks of Yahoo’s The Vertical noted was intended to give the Nets cap and roster flexibility heading into the season.

The New York Post noted the signing of the “savvy” Foye as someone who represents “the lone veteran shooting guard-type on roster.” The Post also noted that Foye was not without suitors as five other teams were reported to be after the guard.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News noted that the move was focused on “[building] a new culture” within the organization.

Finally, Zach Harper of CBS Sports noted that Foye was still “a steady hand as a combo guard and a good 3-point shooter” — even if he’s not quite the athlete that the aforementioned Tyler Johnson is.

What Does Foye Bring to the Table?

In early preseason action, Foye has been Lin’s backcourt running mate in the starting lineup. At first glance, it’s a curious choice, since a frontline of Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker, and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson seems in desperate need of some shooting to space the floor —  especially with options like Sean Kilpatrick, Bojan Bogdanovic, or Joe Harris currently coming off the bench.

But if you watch a little more closely, you see a backup flying around the court, making the right rotations, and tossing the extra pass. He’s quick to attack a mismatch on offense and has shown chemistry as a pick and roll ball handler, threading the needle on pocket passes to Booker on occasion thus far.

As I speculated here, the Nets’ defensive-oriented starting lineup needs a second ball handler to make the lineup work on both ends. So, in actuality, dragging Booker in on a weak-side pick and roll may actually free up space for Lopez to find position in the paint, or for Lin to rotate to an open spot beyond the arc.

While we know Foye brings leadership and a steady presence to the locker room, he’ll be relied on for some defense and ball handling in the name of righting what will be, at times, a shaky offensive lineup.

The Foye Highlight Reel Theater

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zta0fEAuYmI

The Bottom Line

It’s tough to get a read on what the front office expects from Foye — is he a starter? Is he a Kevin-Garnett-leading-the-bench role dude? Or, will he steal playing time from the younger, more frenetic players on the Nets? Did Marks and Atkinson need a veteran presence or are they hoping they can eventually flip him near the trade deadline?

However, he’s started three of four the preseason games, so, maybe, they’re really expecting Foye to contribute.

We do know he’ll bring a level of professionalism and decorum to the locker room — on display in this recent interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio — that had trouble showing up to practice on time last season. Foye brings a much-needed dose of character, but here’s to hoping that, despite what recent stats suggest, he can still play.

The Brooklyn Game Player Previews: Jorge GutiérrezEgidijus Mockevicius, Yogi Ferrell, Chase BudingerBeau Beech

Jeremy Lin, Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert

Joe Harris

News from Around NYC