Could Randy Foye really be the fuel that powers the Nuggets engine? We have said for the last couple seasons that Ty Lawson is the engine that drives the sports car that was or is the fast-paced Nuggets. But who is providing the fuel? Do the Nuggets really go as Foye goes?
Let's take a peek as Foye's numbers in wins and in losses (all stats from Basketball Reference.com) - go ahead and click the image below to blow up the picture to a readable size and be prepared to be blown away by what you see.
The stats that jumped off the page to me were Foye's three-point shooting in wins versus losses, his true shooting percentages, his usage ratings, his offensive and defensive ratings, and his rebounding. Yes, quite a few things popped off the charts.
Foye has made 50 three-pointers (43.5%) in wins and just 19 in losses. His attempts are drastically down in losses (70 in losses compared to 115 in wins) and, to me, that speaks to the team's offense and how working for open shots and moving the ball results in wins. Is that too big of a conclusion to take there?
His true shooting percentage is roughly 16-percentage points higher in wins versus losses. That seems like a pretty understandable statistic - make shots and you win games. But it's curious that his usage rate is slightly lower in wins, Foye is just much more efficient in winning games.
Foye's offensive rating (defined here) of 123 in wins shows just how powerful the Nuggets offense can be when things are really rolling and his 95 rating in losses shows just how bogged down the offense can become. And how about the defensive rating? As a team the Nuggets, currently, have a 106 defensive rating (defined here) and that ranks them 16th among NBA teams - Foye's 105 rating in wins shows the team is pretty average on defense in wins and his 114 shows just how poor the Nuggets defense can be in losses.
The rebounding numbers are also important to consider. Foye averages 3.0 rebounds in wins and 1.9 boards in losses - sure, he's not a rebounding machine, but those numbers speak to me. As one NBA assistant coach once told me, staying home and rebounding on defense will allow a player to really be able to get free in transition as his man will have to pay attention to the rebounding effort and not just the sprint back to cover him leaking out (aka cherry picking).
With the Nuggets hovering just above .500, one would likely think every player's numbers would be better in wins versus losses. But that isn't the case. Check out the numbers from Ty Lawson and J.J. Hickson here ... (again, click to blow up the images):
Most of Lawson's numbers are better in wins versus losses, but the differences are not as drastic as Foye's ... well, don't look at the offensive and defensive ratings! Joking aside, Lawson's numbers have been a bit more even-keeled. How about Hickson's numbers? Some of his numbers are better in losses than wins, but the defensive rating holds true for him, as well.
A few more guys who are very comparable to Randy Foye are Nate Robinson and Kenneth Faried. Their impacts in wins versus losses is staggering. Take a look:
Faried's numbers can be explained a little bit in minutes played in wins versus losses, but just looking at those figures is pretty mind boggling. When the Nuggets come together and play well, they really play well.
Even Timofey Mozgov has some interesting numbers:
What does this all mean? If the Nuggets can find some consistency as this season continues to wear on, look out. One obvious one is the Nuggets win a lot more games when their key guys turn in good defensive games. The defensive rating numbers for everyone above in wins versus losses is drastic, but also pretty understandable. You can win games in the NBA by playing good defense, Brian Shaw has been preaching that since his arrival.
After looking at these numbers, it's apparent that the Nuggets need quite a few guys to come together and provide the fuel for their engine.
Basketball is still the ultimate team game.