2021 Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Evan Fournier showed what his role should have been

Evan Fournier had a career year going with the Orlando Magic. But he was never meant to play that role. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Evan Fournier had a career year going with the Orlando Magic. But he was never meant to play that role. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Throughout his whole career with the Orlando Magic, Evan Fournier, along with most of the core of the Rob Hennigan era, had to play out a role for the Magic to be competitive.

Fournier played admirably with the Magic in his seven seasons with the Magic, averaging 16.2 points per game and shooting a 53.1-percent effective field goal percentage. He was often the magic’s lone shooter on the floor but also one of the team’s best perimeter scorers.

The 2021 season was shaping up as one of his finest, even as he dealt with recurring back spasms, as he posted a career-high 19.7 points per game on a 56.0-percent effective field goal percentage, the best in his time with the Magic.

The problem was Orlando had a ceiling of how good the team could be when its roster lacked a star. Fournier had to carry too much of the offensive load. Fournier was always a mismatch — as evidenced by two poor performances in his two playoff series with the Magic (although his 2020 performance could rightly be attributed to an elbow injury and other issues inside the bubble).

However, for a brief period to start the 2021 season, Fournier displayed he was not the single-minded player fans thought he was. Unfortunately, that did not last as Fournier had to be pushed back into that primary offensive role.

The Orlando Magic’s offense fully broke as Evan Fournier remained in a role that was too much for him despite a career season before his trade to Boston.

For the first five games, when Markelle Fultz was healthy, Evan Fournier was a different player than he had been during his entire Magic tenure.

He only averaged 14.8 points per game on 51.1-percent shooting and 34.8-percent from three, but the play style was different. Using the eye test, it was clear Fournier was in his right role playing off the ball and being a scorer/shooter instead of having to be a primary ball-handler and playmaker.

Fournier seemed to finally find himself a role that would allow for other players to grow.

But in the 116-92 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Fournier had to leave with back spasms which would become a regular flare-up injury. Fultz tore his ACL with Fournier out of the lineup, and once Fournier returned, he had to go back to the role of being a primary ball-handler and trying to play out of his ideal skill set.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

With the Magic on the season, he had a career year averaging 19.7 points per game on 46.1 percent shooting from the field and 38.8-percent from beyond the arc. He also managed to average 3.7 assists as one of Orlando’s playmakers. But it did not lead to many wins. Fournier himself struggled to stay healthy, playing in 26 of 45 possible games.

Fournier did not get to end his time with the Magic on a good note, but his final game embodied what his tenure consisted of. Scoring 21 points and having the game-winner over the Phoenix Suns is what Fournier had to do while in Orlando. He had to be the clutch player and having to be the primary option on the perimeter.

Fournier has not found much solace on the other side either.

Fournier has proven some of his value with the Celtics — excusing his two-week absence as he went through health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. Fournier averaged 13.0 points per game and shot a 57.6-percent effective field goal percentage in 16 games for his new team.

He is even scoring well in the playoffs, averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting a 54.3-percent effective field goal percentage in four games against the Brooklyn Nets, all playoff career highs.

The Nets are still targeting him some defensively. But Fournier has carved a place for himself as a role player on a playoff team just as he showed he can be a leading scorer with other supporting parts around him.

B. . SG. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

It is hard to say where Fournier’s future will take him as he enters free agency this offseason. Orlando moved him for Jeff Teague and a large trade exception because the team was not interested in signing him to another long-term deal.

Fournier, as good as he was individually, was never able to lift the team up beyond the first round and playoff scraps.

At the end of the day, Fournier will go down as player fans loved because he always played with passion and tried to be the best version of himself on the court. It was never his fault he was not put in the best position to succeed.

But for a brief moment was saw what could have been. It is just another reason this season is so forgettable for the Magic.

Next. Evaluations: G-Leaguers struggle to find footing. dark

This season brought many problems for Orlando to handle that Fournier himself could not control. Although the Magic had a poor record this season, there were too many issues that Fournier did have control over, and with missing so many games, it is hard to give him an A grade, but he still preform when he was in the lineup, but as he still was not perfect, he earned himself a B grade.