Playmaking Has Become One of Fournier's Main Strengths

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Prior to this season, Evan Fournier was primarily thought of as just a scorer.

Considering he led the Magic in points per game last year, it made sense to think of him that way. He’s proven throughout his time in Orlando that he can score from all three levels and in different ways, including off drives to the basket, pull-ups, spot-ups and off-ball screens.

This season, however, the now-26-year-old has shown he is a much more versatile player. While his defense has substantially improved – which is a reason why so many opposing guards have shot inefficiently when he’s their primary individual defender – Fournier’s playmaking has developed as well.

Although he’s not the only player on this team who has made tremendous progress in this area, Fournier is a big reason why his teammates are getting so many high-percentage shot opportunities.

He’s been so good, in fact, that you could argue he is now one of the top two or three playmaking shooting guards in the entire league.

This season so far, the Magic, per Second Spectrum tracking data, have taken the third most shots through kickout passes, which is probably the single most important pass type in the NBA considering most of the best teams rank near the top in this category, including the Raptors, Bucks, Celtics, Sixers, Jazz, Nuggets, Pacers, Thunder and Magic.

Fournier’s decision-making has a lot to do with why Orlando has done so well in this department. Below is a table that shows each shooting guard's teammates' field goal percentages – both inside and outside the arc – when they deliver kickout passes to them, per data.

Kickout Passer
Teammate FG%
Teammate 3-pt%
DeMar DeRozan
46.2%
48.2%
Evan Fournier
42.3%
44.7%
James Harden
41.6%
42.7%
Devin Booker
41.1%
39.3%
Donovan Mitchell
40.1%
40.0%
Bradley Beal
37.9%
35.8%
Andrew Wiggins
34.4%
34.6%
C.J. McCollum
32.4%
32.2%
Eric Gordon
31.7%
32.3%

Fournier has also been a very good playmaker out of pick-and-roll/pop sets. The Magic are shooting 46.8 percent from the floor and 42.8 percent from beyond the arc when a possession includes Fournier operating out of the pick-and-roll/pop, per data.

So, although his points per game and shooting percentages are slightly down this year, the former first round draft pick of the Nuggets is showing that he is a much improved player overall.

Check out a few of Fournier’s kickout passes, which led directly to 3-point shots by his teammates:

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