The Boston Celtics acquired Orlando Magic guard / wing Evan Fournier before the NBA trade deadline.
Here are five things to know about the 28-year-old.
He is a talented scorer in a variety of ways.
Fournier is an acceptable but uncomplicated playmaker and defender; don’t expect it to be Chris Paul or Tony Allen in either of the respective categories.
What Fournier does at a high level is score the ball in various ways. Most of his offense this season has come off the pick-and-roll: 31.1 percent of his shots came from those sets. He has scored 0.95 points per 100 possessions as a PnR option, which is the 70th percentile among NBA players. Like Tatum, Fournier is an excellent 3-point shooter from dribbling – he shot 41 percent from deep on jump shots.
But the Celtics could use Fournier in a different way. During the Isaiah Thomas era, the Celtics led their star point guard through a healthy dose of dribble transfer games with Al Horford at the top of the bracket, and Thomas celebrated. Part of that was due to Horford’s unique talents as a blocker, passer and shooter, who opened the paint, but Thomas excelled at generating easy baskets by running around Horford and then shooting himself into the paint.
Fournier could do the same. He’s a good shooter (38.8 percent of three this season), but getting to the rim might be his best ability. In transfer sets this season, he has scored 1.36 points per possession, 94th percentile across the league. He also drives the ball roughly eight times per game, which would be fourth behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker.
In short, Fournier’s scoring stats paint the picture of a player ready to contribute immediately. A look at his heat table shows how professional Fournier is as a scorer.
Score 20 points per game from the corner, above the break and in the paint. The Celtics can’t ask for much more than that, especially for the price of two second-round picks.
He’s a free agent this summer.
One of the downsides of switching to Fournier: He only has a contract for the next few months. As pointed out Adam Himmelsbach of the GlobeDanny Ainge doesn’t like to trade for a rental, so the Celtics may have reason to believe Fournier will be open to re-signing.
But Fournier and his agent will be in a position of bargaining power, especially if he plays well. The Celtics have lost a number of free agents recently and won’t be thrilled about the prospect of losing another, especially given the value of the trade-player exception they used to acquire. Fournier could be looking for good pay this offseason if he stays in Boston.
He is an extremely confident player.
Fournier was the 20th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, selected by the Denver Nuggets, a team with a history of great international selections (Fournier is French). During the pre-draft process, then-Mavericks president and general manager Donnie Nelson told Grantland that Fournier “has the arrogance of a great player.”
Fournier fell in love with basketball in 2002 after watching the Sacramento Kings playoff run, according to the same Grantland article, and grew up assuming he would be an NBA player.
“It has never been a dream,” Fournier used to say. “Only one goal. I always knew I was going to make it. “
It probably won’t make the Celtics a contender.
Celtics fans have every reason to be excited: Fournier is averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game with excellent shooting divisions, and it should prop up the Celtics’ depth. He could even become a starter if Brad Stevens prefers Marcus Smart with the second unit.
But don’t expect Fournier to turn the Celtics into contenders on his own. The Magic had a direct sale Thursday, trading three of their best players in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Fournier. Of those three, Vucevic, who made the All-Star Game this season, was the most productive.
But even with three valuable deadline goals on the list, the Magic are 15-29, the fourth-worst record in the NBA. Fournier is a nice addition, but complementary. The hard work of becoming a contender is still up to Brown, Tatum and Walker.
Don’t Google your name.
After the news broke that the Celtics had acquired him, Fournier took to Twitter with a somewhat cryptic message.
Hello @celtics fans,
If you are not familiar with me, please google my last name.
– Evan Fournier (@EvanFourmizz) March 25, 2021
This has been a running joke on NBA Twitter for years. If you Google “Evan Fournier,” you’ll find plenty of links about the 28-year-old Celtics guard who was acquired by two second-round picks and taken over by the Celtics trade-in player exception.
However, if you Google “Fournier” alone, you will find results related to “an acute necrotic infection of the scrotum; penis; or perineum. It is characterized by pain and redness of the scrotum with rapid progression to gangrene and shedding of tissue. “
So there you have it. If you have to search for “Fournier”, you may want to stay out of the “Pictures” tab.
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