Al Jefferson vs. Randy Foye: Who Will Be the Timberwolves' Franchise Player?
I expect to get a lot of criticism from this, but I feel this has to be said.
No one was more excited than me to get a new GM with so many credentials and qualifications.
I was quite a happy camper when it was announced that we nailed David Kahn, and of course like any true fan and sports writer of the Wolves, I tuned in to watch the press conference via laptop.
In the original broadcast, David Kahn said a lot of interesting things that involved cap space, free agency, the draft—and of course, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
I'm a huge fan, so I go to watch the video again on the official Timberwolves website, yet they only had the highlight statements that David Kahn said. He said that on this team, it would be nice to have a "star"—and no disrespect to Al Jefferson. He said that he wants to know if Al Jefferson or anyone on the Timberwolves roster can be the next franchise player, or if they need to seek one the draft and the free agency.
Some people would ask, why would you put Foye in that category? Well, in the video that was on the Timberwolves website, when David Kahn said it would be nice to have a star, they immediately put Randy Foye's picture up through that whole stanza. This makes me wonder: Is David Kahn going to try to make Foye the franchise player?
Before I get into the Jefferson vs. Foye debate, I'd like to point out my reasoning as to why David Kahn probably does not think Al Jefferson is a franchise player. Let's compare Al Jefferson to Dwight Howard, the franchise player of the Orlando Magic, who is of similar height.
Dwight Howard: 20.6 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 1.0 SPG.
Al Jefferson: 23.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Not drastically different—what Jefferson lacks in rebounding to Dwight, he makes up in points. Al Jefferson and Dwight Howard are statistically similar, but what makes Dwight Howard a franchise player, and Al Jefferson just an All Star?
Well, Dwight Howard is a freak of nature, a complete center, an incredible athlete, and cannot be denied a killer dunk. What Al Jefferson lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in pure skill. Who do you know can hit a turning hook shot on Yao Ming and Shaq all the time? Nobody. He's arguably the best PF in the game right now.
But why are these two so different? At the start of the first quarter, Dwight Howard gets a crazy dunk, and the crowd ignites. At the start of the first quarter, Al Jefferson gets a floater over Shaq, and the crowd is happy, but isn't exactly cheering for jiggling joy.
A franchise player is someone that everyone wants to see play—that's why guys like Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Carmelo Anthony draw big crowds.
But they are also the best players on their teams, and are the verbal, physical, and most flashy on the court. I'm sorry, but in order to be the franchise player, these are the qualities that you need to have.
Al Jefferson is the best player on our team, but in my very humble opinion, he's not the leader type. He's the star, but not the leader—similar to Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks.
However, Al Jefferson has stated in an interview himself that he "wants to look like Dwight Howard." If he could pull this off, I'll completely shut my mouth. I love Al Jefferson, but he would have to work on his verbal leadership skills and pure athleticism. I want Al Jefferson to be the franchise player—he's completely skilled and dominant in his own way.
Last year, Randy Foye averaged a career high 16.3 PPG to go along with 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 3.10 RPG. In the month of January, where the Timberwolves went 10-4, Randy Foye averaged 19.37 PPG, and in the month of February, he averaged 21.07 PPG. It was revealed that Randy Foye had played half of February injured, just as Jefferson got injured, which is the reason for the scoring increase.
Randy Foye showed he had a lot of heart, playing through a hip injury and ankle injury at the same time, and recieved tremendous praise from Kevin McHale. According to NBA.com, Randy Foye is only credited for having two years in the NBA—this is due to the large injury that he had in his sophomore year, resulting in him only playing in 39 games, similar to Greg Oden.
If we go off of these statistics and the second-year rule, Randy Foye increased his career average by six PPG since his rookie season. If Randy Foye keeps up this improvement, he could see anything from 18-22 PPG next season.
So with these statistics, could Randy Foye become the face of the franchise? My answer is yes—but he has some of work to do this offseason.
What Foye Should Work On
Foye is an amazing scorer—brilliant in the paint and possessing a deadly outside shot. He averaged 19 PPG in January and 21 PPG in Febuary. He does not have a lot of work to do in this area, but there were games where he put up 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, or nine points on 2-of-11 shooting during January.
In February he put up a lot of 13- to 15-point games, and there were five games in which he scored 21 points or more. He has to get to the point where he's scoring 16 PPG or more every night on less than 14 attempts.
He should get in the gym and shoot no less that 1000 jumpers a day—and make them.
Foye is one of the most nimble players on the court—and because of that, he's able to get shots and lay-ups off of crossovers that only special players can get. But this fan believes that if Foye is going to be the face of the franchise, he's going to have to get extremely athletic.
He's going to need it, he's going to be double teamed, he's going to have to be able to explode to the basket, and dunk the ball with finesse. If he works hard, he can become the humble yet confident warrior that he truly is.
3. SG or PG?: In order to become successful, Randy Foye is going to have to see seven-eighths of his minutes as a SG. This is going to limit his turnovers, and give him more opportunities to score. He's a very talented catch and shooter, and can create his own shot exceptionally well.
If I could speak to him, I'd want him to shoot thousands of shots a day. We all love Foye, so why wouldn't we want him to average three three-pointers a gam?
4. Make Defense A Top Priority
If Foye's going to be the franchise player, he's going to have to play even better defense that he's been playing. He can block shots well, and steal the ball due to him being to agile. He had more blocks and steals last year than he had in his rookie season—despite playing in fewer games.
Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony locked defense into their head this season. Danny Granger has verbally committed to defense next season. Foye is going to have to do the same and make the All-Defensive team next year.
5. True Leadership: This is something that Foye already has boiling inside of him. If anyone watched any of the close games, Randy Foye has been called "Fourth Quarter Foye", due to his outbursts in the fourth quarter. He's not afraid to take responsibility, and has been trusted to make game-winning shots. He has to verbally assert himself with his teammates.
The Timberwolves were the only team that won more road games than they won at home. Randy Foye has to teach his teammates to use his home crowd like he did in Villanova.
FQ4 or Big Al? That's a huge debate, and either would be great. But I feel that if the fans get behind Foye, and David Kahn embraces him, you're looking at the face of the franchise and the Most Improved Player of the year next year.
Hope you enjoyed reading!
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