Does Brian Shaw think that Evan Fournier can turn into the next Tony Parker? Wait, no he doesn’t. I’m only making that comparison because they’re both French. However, Shaw does have some unwarranted faith in Fournier. We can start with a little background on Evan Fournier because chances are many of you out there don’t know who he is. Don’t worry; I didn’t either 3 months ago.
Fournier is a 6’6’’ shooting guard out of France. He just turned 21 and is entering his 2nd year playing in the NBA. After getting drafted in the first round in 2012, Fournier dominated the summer league. In 31 minutes the French native averaged 14.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Not bad for a 19 year old at the time. When the actual NBA season started Fournier came back down to earth. He found himself on the bench periodically, averaging 11 minutes in 38 games. That was then. This is now. Denver has a new coaching staff and they seem to have fallen in love with his game.
Fournier got a major increase in playing time in the preseason. At first I thought of nothing of it. I mean, it was the preseason. I thought Shaw was giving the youngster lots of playing time because he wouldn’t be playing much come opening day. After glancing at his preseason stats, I thought that he wouldn’t crack the rotation, especially on a deeper Denver team. In 7 preseason games, Fournier averaged 9.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2 assists, in 22 minutes. His stat line looks ok until you look at his shooting percentage. Fournier shot 41 %( 25/60) from the field. This was against preseason competition, so I think he isn’t ready for big NBA minutes at the moment.
Shaw had other plans. In the first four games this year Fournier has played: 21, 15, 9, and 24 minutes respectively. The result? 29.2% (7/24) shooting. Obviously the sample size is small, but Fournier is eating up too many minutes for a guy who had a PER in the negatives after three games. He should be at the 8-12 minute range at best. With Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Nate Robinson, and Randy Foye; you have 4 proven guards on the team.
By no means am I trying to knock on Fournier. Take a look at his highlights from a game against Portland last year:
The talent is there! He kind of looks like a taller and slower version of Steph Curry. I think if given the time to develop Fournier can turn into a solid guard. If the Nuggets are trying to win, don’t give the youngster much playing time. If they’re trying to rebuild, then put him on the floor.