Player Analysis: Jeff Foster
May 10, 2011
LOOKING BACK: Though not actually the oldest player on the roster (James Posey beat him by three days for that particular honor), Jeff Foster served in the elder statesman's role for the Pacers in 2010-11. The lone link to the Reggie Miller glory years, Foster was a rookie when the team reached the NBA Finals in 2000, although he wasn't on the playoff roster. One of three players to serve at least 12 seasons in Indiana, Foster ranks fourth in franchise history in games played (753), third in offensive rebounds (2,083) and fifth in total rebounds (5,206). He missed 17 of the first 19 games with injury issues but just nine thereafter, averaging 6.3 rebounds in just 16.8 minutes per game. The lone veteran to survive the youth movement under interim coach Frank Vogel, Foster kept the much younger Solomon Jones on the bench for most of the season's second half, including the playoffs.
LOOKING AHEAD: Coming off a 2009-10 season in which he played just 16 games before back surgery, Foster established himself as a player that can be highly productive in relatively short minutes. As the Pacers look to bolster their frontcourt rotation with younger, more athletic bodies, his role could further diminish -- or even be eliminated. He said after the postseason concluded he hoped to remain with the Pacers for many years to come and there's little doubt the franchise would like to retain this valued veteran under the right conditions.
KEY STATS: Foster ranked fifth in the NBA win average of 17.8 rebounds per 48 minutes played, the highest of his career for a full season.
CONTRACT STATUS: Free agent.
OUTLOOK: Though Foster's value to the Pacers is, and has been, apparent, whether he fits in the big-picture plan moving forward remains to be seen. One of three free agents in the frontcourt rotation (along with Josh McRoberts and Solomon Jones), Foster could be highly attractive to a team that believes itself to be one veteran big man away from championship contention. It is difficult to imagine an Indiana team without Foster but given the uncertainty on so many fronts this summer, it must be considered a real possibility.