SleepersJuly 12, 2007


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Sleeper Watch

By Mike Antoine

Some NBA rookies immediately get an opportunity to immerse themselves in the NBA style of play and are given significant minutes in their first season as a professional. Others are expected to be significant NBA contributors at some point, but need to wait their turn given their team’s existing roster and strengths. Such turned out to be the case for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard, Randy Foye.

Foye played four seasons at Villanova and entered the NBA draft after his senior year. He was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. He was immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers and subsequently traded to the Timberwolves. Initially thought to potentially have a significant role on the Wolves immediately, that all changed when Minnesota signed free agent point guard, Mike James. “When I was playing in the summer league, I was going really well but then they signed Mike. And when they first signed him, it kind of hurt because I knew deep down that if they signed a guy for $24 million then he was going to play right away, so I had to back him up. But I learned a lot from him, and I just took it and I just tried to be a sponge.”

It’s nice of Foye to suggest he learned a lot from James, and was being a sponge, but I’m sure most would agree, it wasn’t necessary. Highly touted coming out of college, Foye has been known for his scoring ability and solid overall game. A bit undersized as a shooting guard, yet doesn’t have the game of a point guard, some give him the label of combo guard. Foye’s been compared to the likes of Dwayne Wade for his ability to get to the basket, penetrate, leap, and finish strong. At the same time, he’s been compared to Ben Gordon for being undersized at shooting guard and having a streaky jumper.

That said, the Wolves are going into the 2007-2008 season with Foye as the frontrunner at point guard after trading Mike James to the Houston Rockets in the offseason. This is good news for fantasy owners because Foye’s game is fantasy friendly. Forget whether or not he should be playing point guard or shooting guard, Randy Foye and increased minutes are a good combination.

In college, Foye averaged 15.0 ppg, 1.6 3pg, 3.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 40% FG shooting (on 13 shots per game), and 78% FT shooting (on 4 shots per game). It’s worth noting that Foye’s FG shooting improved as he gained more college experience, shooting 42% his junior season and 41% his senior season, both improvements over his upper-30 percentile shooting during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

It’s important to note those college figures because over a sampling of 14 NBA games in which Foye played 30 or more minutes last season, we see some similarities to his college line and potential as a starter this season. In those 14 games in which he played 30+ minutes, Foye averaged 17.1 ppg, 1.4 3pg, 4.9 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.1 spg, while shooting 46% from the floor (on 12.5 shots per game) and 89% from the line (on 4.7 free throws per game). That’s some impressive stuff!

The NBA is full of labeled combo guards that provide very fantasy friendly statistics including Dwayne Wade, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry, Ben Gordon, Cuttino Mobley, Jamal Crawford, and many others. Depending upon your fantasy team needs, don’t be afraid to make Randy Foye your #2 point guard next season, confidently selecting him anywhere from the seventh round on. The Timberwolves will be banking on the hope that he’ll be every bit as good of a scorer in the NBA as he was in college, and you can too.

 
Mike Antoine is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Mike in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of The Thrill.
 
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