Let’s define the term “coach’s pet.” A coach’s pet is a player, typically a veteran, who has earned the coach’s trust in difficult game situations and is now played in those situations even if he may not be the “best option.” When many folks look back at George Karl’s tenure as Nuggets head coach, Andre Miller would be the first player to pop into mind when talking about a coach’s pet. Will Randy Foye be coach Brian Shaw’s version of Andre Miller?
Going into last season I viewed Randy Foye as simply keeping the starting shooting guard spot warm while Evan Fournier grew into the role. Fournier did start a few games but it was due more to Foye’s struggles than Fournier’s growth. Upon Foye’s return to the starting lineup, he began emerging as a team leader. With injuries to Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson, Brian Shaw was forced to lean more and more on Mr. Foye.
Moving forward into the 2014 season, I still see Randy Foye best suited as an off-the-bench shooting specialist. I know I’m not alone in this train of thought because a good chunk of pre-draft rumors are about drafting a shooting guard. There are a lot of questions related to the position: Will coach Brian Shaw be able to detach himself from last year’s debt of gratitude for all the extra effort that was asked for and received from Randy Foye? Will Brian Shaw be able to stay the course in helping Evan Fournier reach his potential? If the Nuggets do draft a shooting guard, will Brian Shaw take those minutes away from Foye instead of Fournier?
Also, let’s not forget, Nugget fans, about Erick Green, the leading scorer in the NCAA in 2013 and part of a championship-winning roster in Italy. If Green can put together a solid Summer League campaign, he would represent another challenge for Shaw to find minutes for a guard not named Randy Foye.