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Denver • Randy Foye spent one season in Utah but says he walked away having learned a valuable lesson: what it takes to lead.
"I can truly say this year, on this team, I am the leader," said Foye, the Nuggets' starting shooting guard who averaged 10.8 points a game and shot 41 percent from 3 last year with the Jazz. "When it comes to the physical or emotional, guys lean on me for that. … That's something I learned last year with those guys."
It took Foye until his sixth season in the NBA to feel comfortable in that role, so perhaps it's unsurprising that Jazz coach Ty Corbin points to veterans Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams as the most vocal presences in the Jazz locker room this year. But the coach has seen more and more leadership from his young co-captains, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward.
"They're coming. They are coming," Corbin said. "They're getting more and more comfortable. They're learning from those veteran guys."
"It's gotten better," Hayward agreed. "Could be more vocal. I'm trying to lead by example first and foremost, but I still have work to do."
Quiet may not always be the worst thing.
"They're both quiet but they lead by example," Foye said. "You don't always have to be the ra-ra guy making a scene in front of everybody to be a leader. Sometimes when adversity strikes, those are the guys that tend to not show up. The guys that are quiet and work their tail off are the guys that always step up when confrontation hits."
It was a homecoming of sorts for Alec Burks, who played two years at the University of Colorado in Boulder, about 25 miles outside of Denver. But the third-year guard wasn't expecting a big crowd of supporters Friday.
"I do have a couple friends here, but [there is] a CU game tonight so you never know," he said.
That former Runnin' Ute Andre Miller is in his 15th NBA season and still contributing important minutes doesn't surprise his new teammate Foye.
"If you watch him work, you understand," Foye said. "He's here every day running on the treadmill for like an hour and a half before practice, doing all the little things he needs to do to keep his body right."
Spurs at Jazz
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT