It's Evan Fournier Day here at Orlando Pinstriped Post, which means we'll be doing our best to learn more and more about the Orlando Magic's new asset. Earlier in the day, we ran a pretty big scouting report on the guy, but now it's time to reach out beyond our community for some help.
In order to get a more rounded perspective, I spoke with Kalen Deremo, editor-in-chief at ESPN TrueHoop's Denver Nuggets hotspot, Roundball Mining Company. Kalen has seen plenty of Fournier over the last two years and can provide us with a 360-degree view of the French wing.
Tyler Lashbrook, Orlando Pinstriped Post: What are some of Fournier's strengths?
Kalen Deremo, Roundball Mining Company: He's a capable long-range shooter; not great, not terrible. Like a lot of young players he goes through spurts. When he's off, he can't hit the broad side of a barn, but sometimes he'll heat up and drain four or five from downtown. I think moving forward that has to be his main concentration. He's not that great at anything else, so if he can specialize in shooting he should be able to carve out a long career in the NBA.
OPP: Playing off the last question: What are some of his weaknesses?
RMC: His athleticism is his greatest hindrance and probably will be throughout his career. In France he greatly relied upon getting to the rim. That opened up his game, as he was able to utilize his above-average distribution skills to get his teammates open looks. But he's up against a whole different caliber athlete in the NBA and he's struggled beating his opponent off the dribble. This has forced him to operate mostly on the outside, when in fact his DNA is more that of a slasher.
OPP: One of the things I've noticed in studying Fournier is that it seems he played really well when he received playing time. So I guess the question is: Why didn't he much playing time? Denver's personnel? Or did his weaknesses outweigh his strengths?
RMC: When Brian Shaw came to Denver he was extremely vocal about sacrificing wins for the sake of player development -- and still Fournier didn't see the court on a consistent basis. That tells you all you need to know about how much he struggled last year. Granted, Randy Foye was a bright spot and played way better than anybody expected... but he's still Randy Foye, a journeyman at the core. Like most all NBA players, Fournier was better with increased playing time, but for every great game he registered he countered with two lukewarm outings and one vacant dud. When he was on he was on, but more often than not Fournier acted as a supreme model of inconsistency throughout the year.
OPP: Do you expect him to stick around for that coveted second NBA contract?
RMC: Absolutely. Fournier is still fairly young. That's important to keep in mind. He's also a hard worker and was clearly interested in getting to the NBA as fast as he could. I get the sense Fournier is still largely on an upward arc with his career. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's a smart kid and understands the level of dedication it takes to re-up in the NBA. If the Magic don't have the patience to wait a few more years for him to develop, other teams certainly will.
OPP: What would you realistically call his ceiling?
RMC: He's a solid role player. Maybe someday he'll be considered one of the better backup shooting guards in the league, but I honestly don't see him challenging for a starting role unless it's with a franchise in the midst of a major rebuild. I think one of Fournier's biggest downfalls in Denver was that fans were largely disillusioned about his ceiling. It's important Magic fans understand he's probably not going to suddenly break out of his shell after relocating to a different city. He had plenty of opportunities to prove himself on a sub-.500, mercurial Nuggets squad last year and never could capitalize.
OPP: Anything else you want to say?
RMC: It's unfortunate Fournier's career in Denver ended so abruptly. I know he really liked the city (he said it reminded him of home) as well as his teammates. Last year was definitely a disappointment in that a lot of people thought he was gonna be Denver's starting shooting guard for a long time. And even after his struggles were manifested I was still really excited to see how much he'd improve this upcoming summer. But honestly, I can't complain too much, because I LOVE Arron Afflalo and was one of the few who opposed the Andre Iguodala trade in the first place. I really hope Fournier finds his role in Orlando, but I don't think I'm too out of line in saying this trade was somewhat lopsided in the Nuggets' favor.