In the off-season the Utah Jazz signed veteran combo guard Randy Foye to a one year contract. Foye had previously spent the last two seasons as mostly a shooting guard on the Los Angeles Clippers -- but appears far far away from the same player who was selected 7th over all in the 2006 NBA Draft (and traded for Brandon Roy). Weeeeell, last night Foye had a monster game.
In his 8th start of the season Foye scored 20 points (8/11 shooting, 4/6 from three), dished out 6 assists (only 2 turn overs), had 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 1 block. Previous to last night's game Foye was averaging 10.9 ppg and 1.6 apg. So doubling his points output and tripling his assists was something to really cherish. This was the best game I've seen Foye play, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
Randy did what we want, nay expect, our starting shooting guard to do. Namely, do more than just be a points scorer. If all you can do is score it's totally okay for those guys to come off the bench. Foye had an all-around game that justified starting last night. How likely is it that he keeps up that level of play? Well, I drilled down the SG spot in "Jazz basketball" history from the Bobby Hansen -s to Jeff Hornacek -s . . . and the acceptable "this guy is a good starter" values are:
- 24+ mins
- 14+ points
- 2+ made threes
- 2+ assists
Just on the raw stats, nothing to do with rebounds, or playing defense, or +/-, or percentages . . . just play half the game, score 14 points, and get 2 dimes and 2 threes made. So how many times has Foye done that (which, btw, is a lot less than his 20 point, 4 threes, 6 assists performance of last night)?
Well, playoffs included, Randy has played in 418 total games. And going season by season, team by team, Foye's done the 14/2/2 in 24 minutes thing 81 times. Yep.
Looking at the breakdown it shows me that Foye isn't likely to meet the bare minimums of what we'd want a "playing Jazz Basketball" starting shooting guard to do. That sucks, because I'm really warming up to him. What seems to be the problem for Foye isn't scoring enough, or hitting enough threes -- he's great at that for his position. He even gets enough minutes. The limiting reagent here is assists. Foye, a combo guard, has been increasingly used as a play finisher. And he does that well. He does not get much opportunity (or the play would break down if he didn't shoot) to be a shot creator for others. This logically creates a problem. We need our starting SG to be a secondary facilitator -- not just another shooter.
If we reduce the 2+ assists minimum down to 1+ assists this gives us more and more games that qualify, while dumbing down what we historically want from a SG. After all, if we reduce it to 14 points, 2 threes, and 1 assist than some Alec Burks games qualify for meeting this requirement, or some John Starks games, but we both feel like those guys were legit "Jazz basketball" starting quality SGs. Dumbing it down to 1 ast makes this a hypocritical situation where we absolve one guard's inability to pass, while using that as a character flaw for another. (*Cough* Morris Almond *Cough*)
So, like every week -- enjoy Randy Foye's hot streak while it lasts, and cherish this amazing game he had. He has 16 'starting shooting guard' quality games every 82 outings. We got one last night.