With the reported signing of Luke Ridnour, the Magic’s offseason is pretty much over. The team made some splashes in free agency going after Ben Gordon and Channing Frye (and Ridnour). Frye will be around for a while. Gordon and Ridnour could be gone in a year.
Outside of the draft picks, the big acquisition might very well be the overlooked piece or the underestimated piece returned in the Arron Afflalo trade from draft night.
Who is Evan Fournier?
“Evan is a guy that we see as a versatile player,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said. “He can handle the ball. He can help stretch the floor. He can make plays. And we think he gives solid effort on the defensive end. We just like what brings to the table. We like the skill set he brings to the team. We’ll see how it goes.”
The Magic probably want to do more than just “see how it goes” as they made a relatively big investment in him by giving up the near-All Star in Arron Afflalo. The Magic wanted to turn things over to their young players and Fournier is a player that will allow it.
Fournier has a career usage rate below 20 percent, meaning he is not going to take up a ton of possessions. He was somewhat under-used in Denver and could see that jump up, particularly if he is used more as a spot-up shooter and floor spacer in Orlando.
That is something he is certainly capable of doing. Fournier made just 37.6 percent of his 3-pointers but hit better than 40 percent in his rookie year. If you look at his shot charts from his two years in the league, you can see he is a pretty good shooter from the corners:
Fournier averaged 15.3 points per 36 minutes and 20.8 points per 100 possessions last season. Again, he was slightly misused. But the Magic certainly were intrigued by his ball-handling ability and his ability to play and defend multiple positions. When they brought Fournier in, they very much had that in mind. He lamented being just a spot-up shooter in Denver in his introductory press conference and the Magic will likely use him on the ball a little bit more to take ball-handling pressure off Victor Oladipo.
It also helps that Fournier is still figuring out who he is as a player still. Fournier is only 21 years old and still has room to grow. If the Magic did not take Andrew Nicholson in the 2012 Draft, they probably would have taken Fournier.
“We decided to make a trade,” Hennigan said. “Any time we make a decision of that caliber, we want to make sure it is rooted in principle. This is a situation where we are getting a player in Evan Fournier who helps make us better. We feel like he can grow with the team. We feel like he complements a lot of players currently on the roster. We’re excited about the skill set he brings to the team.”
It is still unclear exactly what that is. But Fournier will get his chance, as so many young players have gotten their chance in Orlando these last few years. He is a bit more ready to contribute than perhaps others that have come in to Orlando before.
Fournier though will provide some versatility and some much-needed shooting if he continues to develop. Yes, Orlando traded more of a ball dominator for more of a role player. The Magic need more role players for their growth though.
And maybe, just maybe for Fournier’s growth too.