2015-16 Player Recap: Evan Fournier
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By John Denton
May 2, 2016
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic’s season was filled with some dramatic highs and lows, notably the promising 19-13 start and the crushing 2-15 stretch throughout January and early February.
That up-and-down play resulted in the Magic making a 10-win improvement over the previous season for just the fourth double-digit jump from year to year in franchise history. But it also caused the Magic to miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year.
Clearly, the Magic have many of the pieces already in place needed to put together a contending team in the Eastern Conference. Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier make up a solid core, while young players Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja are filled with promise.
However, there are still plenty of holes in the roster that the Magic must address this summer in the draft, trade market and free agency. Expect GM Rob Hennigan and head coach Scott Skiles to be active this offseason in helping the Magic use their available salary cap space to recruit more talent to Orlando with the hopes of building Orlando into a playoff contender.
The NBA’s pre-draft camp in Chicago is May 11-15 and the order for the NBA Draft will be set in the lottery on May 17. The NBA Draft is June 23 and the free-agent courting period begins on July 1.
Over the next month, we’ll look back at the play of each of the Magic’s main players from last season.
PLAYER: Evan Fournier
POSITION: Shooting guard/small forward
NBA SEASONS: 4
2015-16 SEASON STATS: 79 games (71 starts), 15.4 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 2.7 apg., 1.2 spg., 46.2 percent FG, 40 percent 3FG, 83.6 percent FT.
CAREER NBA STATS: 251 games (111 starts), 11 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 2.0 apg., 0.8 spg., 44.8 FG percent, 38.9 3FG percent, 78.4 FT percent.
2015-16 SEASON HIGHS: 30 points, twice, most recently March 15 vs. Denver; seven rebounds, three times, most recently April 8 vs. Miami; eight assists, Feb. 19 vs. Dallas; five steals, Jan. 20 vs. Philadelphia; one block, twice, most recently Jan. 22 vs. Charlotte; 46 minutes, twice, most recently April 8 vs. Miami.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Coming off a career-year in 2014-15, Fournier took his game to new heights in 2015-16 by averaging career highs in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes. He led the team in scoring 19 times, had 24 20-point games and two 30-point nights. He had the game-winning 3-pointer against Minnesota on Nov. 18, the go-ahead basket for a win versus Houston on Dec. 23 and converted a game-tying layup in the final seconds of regulation against Dallas on Feb. 19 – a game that the Magic went on to win. Fournier was one of just eight players in the league to shoot at least 45 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the 3-point line this season, joining Golden State’s Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Charlotte’s Marvin Williams, Los Angeles’ J.J. Redick, New York’s Jose Calderon and Sacramento’s Darren Collison.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Fournier got off to a tremendous start and he closed strong, but he slumped in December (11.6 ppg. on 43.2 percent shooting) and January (12.2 ppg. on 43.3 percent shooting), causing him to be moved into a reserve role for a brief stretch. Fournier was much better in victories (16.2 ppg., 48.3 percent shooting and 45 percent from 3-point range) than in losses (14.8 ppg., 44.7 percent shooting and 36.2 percent from 3-point range), showing his importance to the Magic.
FUTURE ROLE WITH MAGIC: Fournier will become a restricted free agent on July 1, meaning he can sign an offer sheet with another team and the Magic will have the right to match or decline that offer. Orlando has every intention of keeping the guard/forward because of the diversity and talent of his game. Just 23 years old, Fournier is coming into his prime as a player and should keep improving as his experience grows and his strength improves. Fournier made great strides this past season as a defender against some of the NBA’s best wings, while also carrying the team offensively for long stretches. All indications are that Fournier is a foundational piece of the team and he will be with the Magic for several years to come.