Utah Jazz: Denver's Randy Foye proud of the leadership he displayed with Jazz last year

Published: Friday, Dec. 13 2013 9:44 p.m. MST

Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors, left, defends against Denver Nuggets' Randy Foye, right, as he drives in the first half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer, AP

DENVER — Randy Foye set a Utah Jazz record for 3-pointers made in a season with 178 in the 2012-13 campaign.

While the shooting guard is proud of that fact, that milestone is not his greatest memory from his short stay in the Beehive State.

“One thing I took away,” he said, “ is just being the leader.”

Foye, now with Denver, said he developed that leadership skill after starting point guard Mo Williams went down with a thumb injury. Veterans Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were leaders in their own right, but Foye took it upon himself to be more vocal.

“I just became more of a leader, a vocal leader,” he said. “No B.S., it’s time to work. And doing it without talking but leading by example, too. I was more proud of that.”

So was Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who called 30-year-old Foye a “great teammate” and a “true professional” who carved out a nice role on a team with a bunch of experienced players.

“He felt comfortable being vocal and we needed him to be because of how he played, who he was for that team,” Corbin said. “It showed (he took pride in it). It helped us. It really did.”

In a sense, Foye’s leadership is similar to how veterans Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams don’t hesitate to speak up when needed this season. They’re not captains, but have taken on an outspoken role as the season’s progressed.

From his perspective, Foye believes the Jazz’s young captains — his former teammates, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors — will continue to grow into their roles as leaders.

“They’re both quiet, but they lead by example,” Foye said. “You don’t always have to be the ‘rah-rah guy’ making a scene in front of everybody to be a leader.”

Foye has turned into an unexpected leader at Denver, where he was sent in that three-team deal with Utah and Golden State this offseason.

“He does the little things when he sees guys not paying attention or working hard in practice,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “Randy gets them to zone in and when things are not going well by giving a guy confidence and then leading by example when he comes in early and working hard in pregame warm-ups and encouraging other guys to do that. It’s been very noticeable.”

GOOD CHAT: Shooting guard Brandon Rush has had a bizarre season, missing 19 games while trying to get himself physically and mentally ready to return from his January knee surgery.

The shooting guard had received back-to-back DNPs when Corbin decided to pull him aside for a little chat after Wednesday’s shootaround session in Sacramento.

“One of the messages was, ‘I want to see you play in the games as you play in practice — just play,’” Corbin said. “He was better at that the other night.”

The talk helped, Rush admitted. That night he played for 20 minutes and hit 3 of 4 3-pointers.

“(Corbin) said he sensed a little tension in my game,” Rush said. “Sometimes I don’t know when to go and when not to go. He just wanted me to go out there and play. … We definitely had an agreement on that the other day. I was with him 100 percent.

“I think I played a little differently, just because I made a few shots here and there,” he added. “I was able to slide on defense, just go out there and play like he wanted me to.”

BALANCED EFFORT: The Jazz currently have seven players averaging in double figures in scoring, and Corbin loves it.

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