In continuing to work on my Randy Foye post (I'm sorry, lots of work this week, not much time), the major conclusion I'm starting to find is that Foye's presence seems to indicate the Wizards don't really have Nick Young in their long-term plans. Rather than dilute the post on Foye down with that conclusion, I figured I'd spell out a bit more clearly why Foye's presence is a real challenge to Nick Young's place on the team. Some points will probably overlap, but since we're getting too bogged down in free agent talk, I wanted to start another thread for those that are tired of it.
Keep in mind I don't necessarily endorse all these arguments, nor are they in any way a guarantee that Nick Young starts the 2009/10 season on another team.
1. Randy Foye is much better at shooting guard than point guard: Foye's numbers don't look too great this year on a whole -- 13.7 PER (below average), 46.3 FG%, 51.7 TS% (pretty cruddy). At the very least, they look pretty comparable to Nick's (13.1 PER, 48.1 eFG%, 53 TS%). But according to 82games.com, Foye's numbers at shooting guard are much more impressive (17 PER, 48.5 eFG%, 2.2 TO/48 compared to 3.9 at PG). This is consistent with Foye's last healthy season in 2006/07 (see here). It was Foye's ill-conceived tenure at point guard that dragged down his production. If we break down Foye into "Foye the PG" and "Foye the SG," "Foye the SG" is much better than Nick Young. If the Wizards realize this (which they should, since there are more minutes behind Mike Miller than behind Gilbert Arenas), Foye's going to get most of his time at shooting guard, where he'll cut deeply into whatever minutes Nick Young was going to get.
2. Randy Foye passes better: The big improvement of Young's season in 2008/09 was that he cut his turnover percentage down significantly. However, he did not improve his passing much, as his assist percentage barely improved (9% to 9.6%, both pathetic numbers for a shooting guard). Foye, on the other hand, has registered three straight seasons with an assist percentage over 20%, and cut his turnover percentage all the way down to 12% this year. Obviously, some of Foye's high assist numbers have to do with him playing point guard a bit, but that doesn't account for how Foye's assist percentage is twice that of Young's. As we've discussed before, passing skill is important for someone playing with Arenas, and Foye passes that test better.
3. Both players have similar usages: Both Foye and Young used over 20 percent of their team's possessions each year of their career. Foye's career usage is a bit below Young's (22.2% compared to 23.8%), but it's still pretty high. There's not much need for two reserve shooting guards who use a similar number of possessions.
4. Foye catches-and-shoots better than Young: Allow me to quote Stop-n-Pop of Canis Hoopus, who I e-mailed earlier this week with some questions about Foye for the Foye piece.
Foye is a fantastic catch-and-shoot player. Flip will find a good use for this guy.
(later in the e-mail, in response to a more specific question about his catch-and-shoot abilities)
As mentioned above, he's a fantastic catch-and-shoot player. There's not much to complain about the guy on this front. If he can embrace this role, he'll do very well in Flip's system.
Foye's assisted % hasn't historically been so high, but there's ample evidence to suggest that was a function of being the only decent guard in Minnesota for three years running. There's at least more hope that part of his game shines through than there is with Young.
5. Foye's less of a work in progress: The upside and downside to Foye is that he is what he is at this point. S&P expressed that to me multiple times in our conversations and I agree with him. Young, however, still has development to make, and for a team that's supposedly "winning now," there's less time for him to come around.
6. Young can be an asset in a trade to balance the roster: It's not like Young isn't talented, so whereas he might get lost in the minutes shuffle here, another team could see a lot of value to him. That might be big in a trade for one of two purposes: either as an incentive to trade away a decent third big man for Young and expirings, or as an incentive to take on a bad contract like DeShawn Stevenson so there's more room under the luxury tax in 2010 to sign Brendan Haywood and maybe Mike Miller.