It's been a tale of two quarters for Randy Foye this season. Perhaps as a result of struggling to adapt to his new home and Denver's altitude, Randy started the year off ice cold from distance. Two months into this year's campaign, he had only topped 16 points twice and was slowly losing minutes to teammate Evan Fournier. Foye's early season woes culminated in a three game stint coming off the bench where his minutes declined to a lowly total of seven against the New Orleans Pelicans.
But, as Foye has proved this season, sometimes all a player needs is a quick trip to detention to reignite their fire. Since that game against the Pelicans, Foye has been absolutely lights out. The Nuggets shooting guard has reached double digit points in 20 of his last 22 contests; this is a remarkable feat considering the large majority of his points come from behind the three point line.
Foye's success in the first half of the season reached its pinnacle when he connected on this game winner against the Los Angeles Clippers, his former team:
Randy Foye Sinks the Clippers with the AMAZING Buzzer-Beater (via NBA)
And it looks like the veteran still has a few tricks up his sleeve!
Randy Foye's Crossover and Jumper Rocks Tornike Shengelia (via NBA)
Beautiful stuff. Foye's scoring efficiency is at a career high and his shooting efficiency trails last year's benchmark by a few thousandths of a point. His assist to turnover ratio is the third best of his eight year career. And all these statistics are in spite of his cold start to the season. In other words, Foye has been tearing it up as of late.
Looking past the all-star break, lead guard of the Nuggets Ty Lawson broke a rib against the Detroit Pistons, an injury that will sideline him for at least two weeks. Expect Foye to pick up some of the point guard responsibilities as a result.
Overall, Foye's season must be considered a success to this point; He worked past some early struggles and is now thriving in the Mile High City. If Randy can keep his three-point percentages up, expect him to work himself into a solid multi-year deal this upcoming offseason.
It must have been something in that late December air, as both Foye's and Kyle Lowry's campaigns took a similar turn for the better midway through the first half of the season. That's not to say Lowry wasn't producing in the early portion of the season at all. The Villanova alumnus was averaging a solid 13 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. Nevertheless, Kyle and the rest of the Toronto Raptors were floating around the playoff bubble with middling play.
But, as the Raptors seemed ready to hit the reset button on the season when they jettisoned Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings for spare parts, something clicked for Mr. Lowry. His new found role of primary distributor and second scoring option for the team has allowed Number 7 to take over on offense. Since the Gay trade, Lowry has recorded nine double-doubles, including one triple-double.
And the highlights keep:
Kyle Lowry's Halfcourt Buzzer Beater vs Nets (via TheBrooklynGame)
While part of Lowry's campaign has been marred by trade rumors (still happening by the way) and a blatant all-star snub, there's no denying this has been a career year so far for the guard out of PA. Virtually every key offensive statistic is at a personal best including assist/turnover ratio, shooting efficiency, 3P %, points, assists, rebounds, and PER. Yup, that's pretty much everything.
Looking forward, there seems to be no reason Kyle can't keep up this level of play. Toronto plays a loose, open floor that allows Lowry to penetrate easily and kick to capable three point shooters. The Raptors are placed firmly in the playoff hunt, and should remain there for the foreseeable future.
It has been a relatively quiet season for Cunningham and his efforts in Minnesota. Statistically, Dante is on pace to match his career averages of 6 points and 4 rebounds per game. But considering the Timberwolves' particularly short bench, one would have to imagine Dante could and should be able to find more opportunities to produce. He still has some solid highlights though:
Dante Cunningham Swats it into the Seats! (via NBA)
Dante Cunningham NICE' Putback Dunk | Timberwolves vs Raptors | January 17, 2014 | NBA 2013-14 (via NBAHighlightsDaily)
Unfortunately, Villanova's former forward ran into some team chemistry issues early in January. Teammate Kevin Love called out Cunningham and J.J. Barea for "sulking" on the bench during a close fourth quarter contest. While it remains to be seen how the incident will affect Dante's long-term future with the Timberwolves, it certainly hasn't helped his propsects of seeing more floor time. Perhaps a trade come summertime is just what Cunningham needs as he enters the prime of his career.
Maalik Wayns has endured a brutal season to this point. He spent the majority of the first half of his campaign on the bench rehabbing a torn meniscus. Then, just as he was ready to make a comeback for the Clippers, a team in desperate need of point guard help when Chris Paul was sidelined, Wayns was released in order to make room for vagabond forward Hedo Turkoglu. Yikes.
Wayns has yet to make any indication on what his next career move is. It appears he's still attempting to find his way onto an NBA roster, a move that must come soon if he hopes to make it big in the NBA
It's been an up and down for Maurice Sutton. Selected in the third round of the D-League's draft, Sutton took his talents down to Tulsa to join the 66ers. Big Mo' has posted some very stellar numbers at times, including at least 15 points and 15 rebounds in two separate games. Unfortunately, he's been forced to spend a majority of his time on the bench. Until Sutton is awarded major playing time on a consistent basis, it remains unlikely that we'll be seeing him on an NBA roster this season.
Thanks for reading everyone!