Randy Foye spent only a year with the Utah Jazz – but what a year it was.
After setting a Utah franchise-record with 178 3-pointers last season, Foye will return to Salt Lake City for the first time Monday as a member of the Denver Nuggets.
“I just wish them guys all the best,” Foye said after practice Sunday. “The organization is run first-class. They did a lot for me, I did a lot for them. A lot of respect and a lot of love.
“We’re only one game better than them as of now. I’m going to do everything in my power to help my team win.”
At 1-4, the Nuggets are technically two games ahead of Utah (0-7), but that’s not really the point. Both teams have struggled early, and the Jazz likely will present one of Denver’s toughest tests of the young season.
“We’re going to get their best shot,” Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson said. “They’re 0-7. The media’s getting on the coaches and the players. We just have to be ready. This is a game we should win. We have to go out there and take it.”
Lawson is off to a great start to 2013-14, averaging 22.6 points and 6.8 assists. He scored 21 points in the third quarter of Denver’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday, but the Nuggets stumbled in the fourth.
Coach Brian Shaw was disappointed in the effort from some of his players against Phoenix, and he shared his views with the team at practice Sunday.
“As coaches, we can’t coach effort,” Shaw said. “We can coach everything else on the floor, but we can’t coach effort. That’s something they have to take pride in and they have to bring every single day.”
Shaw is depending on Foye for leadership after the eight-year veteran was acquired as part of a sign-and-trade with Utah and the Golden State Warriors this past summer.
“We have young guys who need direction,” Shaw said. “We’re giving as much direction as we can from a coaching standpoint, but sometimes they need to get it from their peers. He has been providing that.”
Foye, averaging 10.6 points so far this season, happily accepts the added responsibility.
“Stay together. Guys are trying to figure it out,” he said. “It’s going to turn for us. This team is good enough to win a lot of games. It’s starting to come together. You probably can’t see it from a fan’s point of view, but when you watch film, you can see some of the things we’re really good at. We see it coming.”
NUGGETS AT JAZZ
WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; 104.3 FM, AM-950
F Richard Jefferson
F Derrick Favors
C Enes Kanter
G Gordon Hayward
G Jamaal Tinsley
DENVER: Wilson Chandler (hamstring strain) is a game-time decision; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured tibia) are out.
UTAH: Andris Biedrins (sprained ankle), Trey Burke (broken finger) and Jeremy Evans (strained rotator cuff) are out.
The Nuggets are 4-10 against Utah on the road since 2005-06, but have gone 3-3 since 09-10 . . . The Nuggets are just 12-16 overall against the Jazz since 2005-06 . . . The Jazz franchise has had more 40-point performances against the Nuggets than any other team in the NBA – 18 Jazz players have scored 40+ versus Denver since 1976-77 (next closest would be nine by Houston). Of the 18 40-point performances, 11 of those were done by former Nuggets assistant coach Adrian Dantley . . . The Nuggets went 3-1 against the Jazz in 2009-10, marking their first series win over Utah since the 2003-04 season (3-1) . . . Denver and Utah met in the opening round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, with the fifth-seeded Jazz knocking off the fourth-seeded Nuggets (4-2) . . . With Denver’s 2009-10 Northwest Division title, the Nuggets and Jazz have accounted for five of the last seven Northwest Division titles.