2018-19 Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Evan Fournier

Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier's struggles in the playoffs highlights many of the Magic's biggest weaknesses. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier's struggles in the playoffs highlights many of the Magic's biggest weaknesses. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – FEBRUARY 12: Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic shoots against Tim Frazier #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a game at the Smoothie King Center on February 12, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic rely upon Evan Fournier for his floor spacing and shooting. While other parts of his game rose, his shooting never came around.

Evan Fournier is an easy target.

He was the guy the Orlando Magic chose to re-sign in the same summer they traded Victor Oladipo. It was presented as an either/or choice for a lot of fans — this site guilty of that narrative too — and Evan Fournier eventually took the brunt of the criticism.

He was never quite enough, it seemed. Fournier’s scoring went up with each season, an unbroken chain showing he was getting better, but his team’s win total floundered. It felt like the Magic were always in trouble if Fournier was their primary perimeter scorer.

But that was the role they always asked him to play. Fournier would have to keep improving on other parts of his game and keep up his relatively efficient shooting. That would deliver the kind of play the Magic need.

It was a bit of a contradiction then that Fournier had his worst season in a Magic uniform, struggling with his 3-point shooting all year, yet the team thrived and made the playoffs. The Magic put the ball in his hands a bit more to use him as a playmaker and found other areas where his game expanded.

But on that most important piece, Fournier struggled. It was beyond his explanation. He recognized he struggled and fought for new ways to contribute to the team. He did in a lot of ways. But he could never solve his shooting woes.

His defense was better than it has ever been, drawing praise from coach Steve Clifford. Fournier may not have been the best defender but he was better.

He was also a better passer and playmaker, adding that new dimension to his game. The Magic could rely on him to contribute in a lot of different ways throughout the season.

Fournier was the Magic’s best clutch playmaker too. He hit several shots late in the game that delivered key wins for the team and seemed to be cathartic for him during a sometimes rough season.

But everything eventually came back to his shooting. Fournier’s primary role throughout his career with Orlando was to be a shooter. He was the Magic’s most reliable and dependable outside shooter throughout his time with the team. And that was what became most unreliable this season.

It put a pall on his season. A season that saw him and his team accomplish the thing they had been fighting for so long for.