Randy Foye's starting, learning the harsh reality of being a reserve

If there's one thing I learned about Randy Foye from talking to him this year, it's that he stays professional.  He won't even come close to badmouthing a teammate, a coach or even his situation.  It's a nice quality on a team that tends to speak out it's frustrations publicly.  

So when he says stuff like this, stuff that even hints of dissension, it's significant.  

"It definitely was a difficult situation, because that never happened to me before, coming in for four minutes and being taken out -- even if you make a shot. It was tough for me,"

He's right -- he's never been through this before.  In Minnesota, they desperately pumped his psyche up and started him all the time, hoping that he would be a cornerstone like the guy they traded him for, Brandon Roy.  They tried him at point guard and shooting guard, but they always gave him his guaranteed 35 minutes.  They even gave him the ball with the game on the line, asking him to make the winning plays.  In short, he was treated like a much bigger star than he was.

Now, he comes to Washington, and he learns the ballad all reserve players learn.  Life isn't fair.  You don't get the same opportunities stars get.  If you play like crap, you don't get several minutes to "get into a rhythm."  And Foye has not played well this year -- his on/off numbers are scary-bad, he's jacked terrible shots, can't defend two-guards well and isn't passing nearly as well as he did in Minnesota.  In short, Foye is learning the lesson Nick Young has learned for three years now (and is apparently continuing to learn, as he's now been relegated by his own coach to being a reserve player despite displaying the best perimeter defense on the team).  

The question now becomes whether Foye fades away or adjusts.  I mean, sure, he's starting now, but as soon as Mike Miller gets back, Foye's minutes likely drop.  Flip Saunders has essentially said he's starting because he doesn't want to fiddle with Young's role.  It's causing a lot of raised eyebrows to those who wonder why Saunders is stunting Young's role, but at least Young has a role.  Foye's gone from doghouse to starting, all so Saunders can help facilitate a smoother transition once Mike Miller comes back.  It's pretty similar to Saunders' decision to start Fabricio Oberto over Andray Blatche early in the season with Antawn Jamison out.  Oberto went from starting to never playing, while Blatche's role didn't change much.  Longwinded explanation aside, the point is that Foye's spot in this rotation isn't guaranteed.

The key, then, for Foye is to get to the point where he plays the same way with 35 minutes as he does with five.  Let's set aside the obvious coaching answer to this rotation problem for a second (putting Foye at point guard, where he's played much better this year, and benching Earl Boykins), and the truth that Saunders hasn't helped Foye by making his role confusing.  From Foye's perspective, he has to understand that coaches want their sixth-ninth men to display stability of some sort.  Boykins may not be better than Foye, but as a coach, you know that, when Boykins comes in, he will push the ball down the court, run offensive sets (incorrectly, but he'll run them) and create some sort of shot when things go wrong.  Boykins will do that in 30 minutes or five minutes, it doesn't matter.  Foye hasn't reached that point.  He admitted he's still in "I need to get into a rhythm" mode, and for coaches, that's code for "I can't trust you as a reserve."

Who knows, maybe this "doghouse" stint is what Foye needed.  It's easy to say "I will sacrifice for the good of the team," but it's much harder to do it.  So Randy, now that you have your slight chance to show your skills until your playing time gets lost again, here's some advice.  Play to your strengths.  Shoot spot-up threes instead of off-the-dribble long twos, understand you aren't a good driver unless you drive to pass, do less dribbling and blend in.  Realize you aren't being asked to be a star.  You'll get more minutes that way because you'll play like a guy who can do his thing no matter how much playing time he gets.  

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