Final Report Card: Jeff Foster

by Conrad Brunner

May 23, 2003

By the Numbers: Averaged 10.4 minutes, 2.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 77 games. … Led the NBA in offensive rebounds per 48 minutes (7.1) and ranked second in the league in total rebounds per 48 minutes (16.7). … In seven games of at least 20 minutes played, averaged 5.9 points and 6.9 rebounds, shooting 45.2 percent from the floor and 68.4 percent from the line.

Playoffs: Averaged a team-low 6.3 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds.

Plus-Minus: During the regular season, ranked 13th at minus 18 (minus 0.2 per game). During the playoffs, ranked 12th at minus 33 (minus 5.5 per game).

Contract Status: Entering the first year of a reported 10-year, $32.8 million deal.

Analysis: Another big man whose playing time has fallen off dramatically since the Chicago trade. Prior to the deal midway through the 2001-02 season, Foster started 46 of 54 games, averaging 24.8 minutes, 6.6 points and 7.6 rebounds. Since, his role has dwindled. But it’s not all about circumstance. Foster’s offensive game has shown little development. All he needs is one reliable move or shot to be a relatively effective halfcourt player, but he has yet to show one. His poor free-throw shooting (54 percent last season, 61.5 percent for his career) also keeps him off the floor. Though he is an extremely effective rebounder who brings hustle and energy to the floor, he hasn’t learned how to contain his aggression in and as a result remains remarkably foul-prone. In short, he is much the same player as he was two years ago – fast, strong and athletic, but very raw.

Crystal Ball: He should be one of the more effective reserve big men in the league and that’s certainly a role the Pacers have been holding open for him. He has been his own worst enemy, when it comes to playing time, because of the holes in his game. Until he fills them in, at least partially, he will remain an untapped keg of potential.

Final Grade: C.