Utah Jazz: Randy Foye tries to work through slump
NBA • Guard’s all-important 3-point shooting has slipped.
Published: March 21, 2013 07:17PM
Updated: March 22, 2013 08:36PM
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Randy Foye. Courtesy photo

San Antonio • On one end of the floor, Jeremy Evans turned lob passes into dunks while Alec Burks tried futilely to block him. Al Jefferson sat on a folding chair, singing loudly.

On the opposite end of the court, with practice in the AT&T Center long over, Randy Foye methodically worked his way around the 3-point line.

Everybody handles losing and slumps differently.

“Great worker,” Tyrone Corbin said, as he leaned against the scorer’s table of the empty NBA arena and watched Foye shoot. “You see him now, he’s as concerned as anybody about him not making shots.”

With the Jazz (34-34) struggling to remain in the playoff picture, there’s reason for concern. They play at Western Conference-leading San Antonio on Friday, and are unlikely to get the rare win against the Spurs (51-16) without consistent perimeter shooting.

In the seven games since Foye broke the Jazz’s single-season record for 3-pointers in a season (which was 127), the team’s starting shooting guard has made just 8 of 29 from beyond the arc. After shooting 44 percent from 3-point range to start the year, he’s making shots at just a 33.1 percent clip since Feb. 1.

“My 3-point shot is big in my game,” Foye said, “but it’s not my whole game. I pass, I can dribble, I can defend.”

The reality, however, is that Foye was brought in to be a 3-point shooter. More than 56 percent of his field-goal attempts are 3-pointers. That’s why, as the practice wound down, he and Kevin Murphy — the rookie guard fighting to rise in Corbin’s esteem — were the last to leave the court.

When Foye finally did, he was covered in a thick sheen of sweat, as if he’d been dipped in a large vat of acrylic lacquer.

“It all starts here,” Foye said.

He said he isn’t letting the slump affect his attitude.

“I’m never down,” he said. “I’m never focused on that or stressed about a shot not falling or things like that. I’m putting in work, as you can see.”

The 29-year-old guard, in his first season with the Jazz after signing a one-year contract last summer, averages 10.6 points and two assists per game. Foye has earned a place in Corbin’s good graces due to what the coach described Thursday as veteran leadership found in a “tough pro, great teammate, consummate competitor.”

Foye said defenses did a good job of closing in on him after his hot start to the season.

But he has struggled to maximize the other aspects of his game.

He is an 82 percent free-throw shooter, but has attempted only two free throws in the last 10 games, and none in nine of the 10 games.

“Shooters got to take shots,” Corbin said. “As soon as you turn them down and start thinking and guessing on them, you throw yourself off. He’ll just continue to take the right shots. They’ll fall.”

The Jazz have won just three of their last 13 games, a stretch in which Foye averages just 5.3 points.

“I put a lot of that stuff on my shoulders,” Foye said, “because I had a lot to do with our early success.”

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Foye’s sinking stats

• Randy Foye made 43.4 percent of his 3-pointers in first three months of the season but has made just 33.1 percent since Feb. 1.

• The Jazz guard has attempted just two free throws in the last 10 games.

• Foye signed with the Jazz last summer and will be a free agent again this offseason.

Jazz at Spurs

P AT&T Center (San Antonio)

Tipoff • Friday, 7:30 p.m.

TV • ROOT

Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM

Records • Jazz 34-34; Spurs 52-16

Season series • Tied 1-1

About the Jazz • Including last year’s playoff sweep, the Jazz have lost six straight games at San Antonio. Their last win was Jan. 20, 2010. … Mo Williams made a 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Jazz to a 99-96 win on Dec. 12. … Williams and Paul Millsap were both benched in the fourth quarter of the Jazz’s 100-93 loss at Houston on Wednesday. … The Jazz have not won on the road since Feb. 13 and have lost 10 of their last 13 games.

About the Spurs • Point guard Tony Parker is still out with an ankle injury. … Tim Duncan averages 17.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. … The Spurs are 28-4 at home.

Jazz at Spurs

O Friday, 7:30 p.m.

TV • ROOT