Catching Up with the 'Cats: Week 11

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Lowry and Randy Foye are in the midst of some very impressive hot streaks! Read on to find out which 'Cats are making the most noise in the NBA!

Randy Foye

The Denver Nuggets starting shooting guard continues his resurgent effort to start the New Year. Since January 1st, in a total of seven games, Foye is averaging 16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and just over one turnover in 32 minutes per contest. Randy turned in an especially impressive performance against the powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunder; he netted 24 points and hit six of his nine attempts from distance. The 24 points set a new season high for the Villanova Alumnus. Check out this bomb:

Randy Foye Deep 3-Pointer | Thunder vs Nuggets | January 9, 2014 | NBA 2013-2014 Season (via Basketball Nation)

Reggie Miller keenly points out that Foye's form and "bounce" on his shot look much improved from the beginning of the season. I've been paying close attention to his statistics from three-point land, in large part because of his new found role as a shooting specialist, and the numbers from the last six games are especially encouraging. Foye has connected on over 50% of his attempts from deep (21-40). And when you're shooting about six per game, that percentage becomes even more striking.

Foye's impact goes beyond the box score, however. NBA.com notes how the shooting guard's hot streak "spreads the floor by keeping defenders occupied on the perimeter."

Randy attributes his comeback to the hard work put in on the practice floor. "The only way you can get through something like that is to keep putting effort forward. That's what I continued to do." For now, Nuggets and Villanova fans just hope he continues to fire away.

Kyle Lowry

There's a very interesting trend developing in the NBA. It seems as if the moment a team trades away a supposed franchise player, the wins suddenly appear. It happened with the Denver Nuggets in 2011 when they traded away Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks for various trade pieces. It happened to the Chicago Bulls this year when Luol Deng was sent off to Cleveland for nothing more than future picks, salary relief, and a 12 hour rental of the artist formerly known as Andrew Bynum. Now, Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors are in the midst of their own surprise turnaround.

Since trading controversial swingman Rudy Gay, the Raptors have transformed their record from a middling 7-12 into a potent (at least considered potent in the Eastern Conference) 19-17 franchise in command of the third seed out East.

It is most likely no coincidence that Kyle Lowry is putting up some of the best numbers of his career post Gay's departure. In the month of January, Lowry has posted averages of 17 points, 4 boards, and 7 dimes with only 1.6 turnovers per game. His stats also include a scorching 51% from downtown and slightly below two steals per contest. In other words, this guy is on fire! Check out this filthy crossover below:

Kyle Lowry's SICK Ankle Breaker on Livingston Nets vs Raptors January 11, 2014 NBA 2013 2014 (via NBA@)

The star guard is even doing some great work off the court.

Lowry's performance has halted the majority of trade rumors floating around his name. This ESPN Insider article points out that Lowry will only be shopped if the wins suddenly stop coming or a team offers Toronto an offer GM Masai Ujiri cannot refuse. For the time being, it seems like Lowry has played himself into the conversation for elite point guards and, subsequently, a nice pay raise this upcoming summer.

Dante Cunningham

After a brutal last-second loss to the Phoenix Suns, Dante Cunningham was called out by his star teammate Kevin Love. According to Love, two of his running mates on the bench displayed attitudes not conducive to winning in the Timberwolves' latest loss. Love said "We can't have two guys sitting at the end of the bench that play good minutes just sitting there and not getting up during timeouts." JJ Barea and Cunningham apparently did not leave the bench during a timeout in the fourth quarter.

While I didn't watch the game and can't offer much insight as to what exactly is going on inside the Minnesota locker room, I do know that Cunningham responded with one of his best overall performances of the season. The former Villanova forward netted 6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and one big block against the Charlotte Bobcats. That block led to a nice run-out:

Cunningham gets the big block and Shved gets the dunk (via ZombieProphet)

Additionally, the 6 assists he recorded was a career high. Hopefully that unselfish play makes an impression on his teammates and helps Dante return to Love's good grace.

Maalik Wayns

As reported last week, Wayns was signed to a ten day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. Shortly after, he appeared in his first game of the season, recording an assist and a foul in three minutes against the Boston Celtics.

The Villanova alumnus received another chance to touch the floor in a blowout win against the Los Angeles Lakers. (And by blowout, I mean obliteration. The Clippers were up 101-60 at the end of the third quarter). In garbage time, Wayns actually produced some solid numbers: 2 points, 2 rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals in six minutes of action. More importantly, Wayns passed the eye test. Despite reports of him limping around practice even after being "medically cleared," Maalik was one of the quickest guys on the court and seemed in complete control when handling the ball. Obviously, there was little at stake in the end of that game, but Wayns' performance just might be enough to earn him another 10 day contract.

Maurice Sutton

I really wish I knew what was going down by Route 66. The Tulsa 66ers' big man Maurice Sutton saw his minutes decline to an average of 5 per game in the last two contests; Sutton only managed about 3 points and 2 rebounds in those games. No one said it was going to be easy, but it must be a frustrating life for big Mo' in the D-League. Let's hope he keeps on working hard and some good breaks may fall his way.

Thanks for reading everyone!

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