The overlooked season of Evan Fournier

Stepping away from the Mavericks here, I want to shine some light on my other favorite team, my hometown Orlando Magic. It’s commonplace to make fun of them right now, but there is a lost element of the Magic, and that is wing Evan Fournier. 

Fournier is arguably the Magic’s best player, coming off a 17 PPG season on 44% shooting. While those numbers were impressive, Fournier had an even more remarkable season the year before:

Screenshot 2017-07-13 at 2.13.35 PM

As you can see, his FG% was 46% and 3P% was at 40, both remarkable figures. There is a case to be made that his 2015-16 season was better than the 2016-17 season, with one example being his high win shares total of 5.7 in 2016, and just 2.8 in 2017. This previous season was one of the most dysfunctional seasons in the Magic franchise history, as the Serge Ibaka experiment failed, and the front office underwent significant change, along with a new coach for the 2nd year in a row.

Shifting focus to the 2015-16 season, Fournier was a lights out shooter, a capable slasher, and had low turnover totals. He was also a capable defender, and 2015-16 may have been his best defensive season.

shotchart (9).png

Above is Fournier’s shot chart (per NBA.com/stats) from 2015-16. He was aligned with league averages and above league averages all throughout the arc. He also proved to be a decent finisher at 58%.

Should Fournier return to his 2015-16 form, the Magic may see an improvement in their win total this season. With another year of chemistry with teammates and coach Frank Vogel, Fournier is a solid bounce-back candidate. I believe that Fournier is a top 100 player, and if he repeats his 2015-16 season, he will have a great chance of growing his reputation around the league. Fournier is primarily a scorer, and with the Magic he doesn’t need to do too much else. If Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Terrence Ross all take steps forward in their production, the Magic could be a dark-horse playoff threat.

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