Wow, the 2011-2012 season is about to begin shortly and I still haven't finished my 2010-2011 player reviews. Better get a move on then.
Up next is Jeff Foster, the ageing 34-year-old veteran who is on the verge of re-signing a one-year contract with the Pacers.
In 2010-2011, Mr Pacer only played in 56 games due to injury, and started in only 3 (in favour of Tyler Hansbrough and Josh McRoberts and Roy Hibbert). That's actually 40 games more than he played the season before. His numbers also continued to slide, though they were up slightly from 2009-2010. He averaged only 3.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, but when you take a step back, Jeff's numbers are actually still quite impressive, especially considering what he has gone through the last couple of years.
Foster actually set a career high with 6.1 offensive boards per 36 minutes, and tied his career high with 13.4 total rebounds per 36 minutes, the best since his rookie year. Think about that for a minute. Despite his limitations, Foster has undoubtedly established himself as one of the most efficient rebounders in recent years. Not bad for a skinny 6'11" white guy who isn't particularly athletic (and hasn't been for years).
In the playoffs, Foster played sparingly (averaged 18.6 minutes over 5 games) but was a headliner for leading the rough 'em up strategy against the Bulls and Derrick Rose. Bulls fans labeled him public enemy number one, but every team in the NBA would love a guy like Foster on their squad.
When he retires (most likely after the coming season), a lot of Pacers fans will be disappointed. Through all the rubbish that happened over the last few years, Foster has been the one pillar of integrity in the team. He will always be a limited role player -- a guy in the mould of the Davises (Dale and Antonio) who go after every rebound, hustle after every loose ball, never back down from anybody and basically does all the dirty work in the key, even playing the villain if he has to.
Unfortunately, while Foster was relatively effective when he did play, he didn't play enough to make a significant impact on the team last season, at least onthe floor.