"With the 19th pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Orlando Magic select (enter dramatic pause here), Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure University."
Damn, that was the guy that I personally wanted our Denver Nuggets to draft with the 20th overall pick, but not to worry because sharpshooter Jon Jenkins, injury-riddled but still intriguing Jared Sullinger, the explosive Perry Jones III and the versatile Arnett Moultrie were still on the board. All these names and more went through my head while the Nuggets were on the clock, then: "With the 20th pick in the 2012 NBA draft the Denver Nuggets select (yet another dramatic pause), Evan Fournier from France.
I'd seen Fournier's name pop up on draft boards all across the internet ranging from the 20's through to early in the second round but it was a major suprise for myself, and i'm sure much of Nuggets Nation when his name was called. At first I was shocked, didn't really know how to feel, I was just indifferent. I wasn't annoyed or angry but neither was I pleased and excited. I saw a lot of Nuggets fans dissatisfied with the selection, but come on,do you know anything about Fournier? Just because you havn't heard of him doesn't make him an automatic bust or bad selection. I couldn't actually make a judgement on the pick as I didn't have the information and knowledge about the Fournier. So after the draft concluded and I was tired from jumping up and down after the absolute steal we got at pick 38 in Quincy Miller, I decided to find as much information on our latest 1st Round selection. I will share what I found with my fellow Stiffs!
Lets have a look at Evan Fournier by the Numbers/ credentials.
- Weight: 204 Pounds
- Height: 6-7(with shoes)
- Wingspan: 6-8
- Position SG/SF
- Last played for the French club Poitiers in the French league.
- Averages of 14 PTS, 2.2 ASTS, 1.5 STL whie shooting 52.2% from inside the arc, 27.7% from beyond it and 75.4% from the charity stripe during the 11/12 season.
- The season prior to that Fournier shot a respectable 35.7% from 3, 54% from insde the arc but just 65.9% from the free throw line.
- Fournier first caught international attention when he starred at the Under 18 European Championship in 2009, earning a place on the all tournanment team, despite being the youngest on a French team that won Silver.
- Evan Fournier also was honoured with an all tournanment team selection at the Under 20 European Championship last year.
- Won the Most Improved Player award as well as the Rising Star award in the French league.
The first thing that popped out to me was the fact that Fournier shot just 65% from the free throw line in 2010/11, that is not very good at all but the next season he improved that to 75% suggesting he had been working at a weakness in his game. Accompany that with the fact he won the Most Improved Player Award and you could come to the conclusion that Fournier is dedicated to improving his game and is a hard worker, or maybe i'm just reading into it a little to much. The 27% 3-point shooting is woeful in the 2011/12 season but from what I heard he was forced to shoot to many long 3's with the shot clock winding down as his team wasn't the best on offense, or anywhere really. One positive thing looking at his stats is that in the previous year he did shot a respectable 35% from 3, indicating that he can be efficient from beyond the arc and does have the ability to be a 3-point threat.
When reading Fournier's profile on NBADraft.net I found something that really made me excited:
The trademark of his game is to score clutch baskets. He seems to live for crunch time.
Would this have been the ultimate selling point to Masai as he made the pick? Ujiri knows that is one of our weakest area; scoring in the clutch and down the strech. I mean, we could have played in the second round of the playoffs this season just gone if we could have managed a few more points down the strech and in the 4th quarter. With that said, being able to come up clutch in the French league and NBA are two different things, however you could make the arguement a clutch player is going to be clutch no matter what the situation. The other thing I find intruguing about Evan is the fact that his natural position is at SG. At 6-7, he could create some mismatches for smaller defenders and the Nuggets could find themselves plaing a much taller line-up than their opponent if he is inserted into the game.
Fournier likes to compares himself to Manu Ginobili and its actually easy to see why when looking at some of his strengths according to NBADraft.net
Very crafty offensively. He is a natural talent, and can score in many ways: shooting from three, attacking the basket and spotting up. Very adapt at driving and dishing. Also has a nice left hand and grabs rebounds, both on offense and defense. Sees the floor exceptionally well.
After watching what highlights I could find, it became apparent that Fournier is more of a slashing guard that likes to get to the basket and finish around the rim, or create space and kick to open teammates. The one adjustment that he will have to make is how to play against guys that are much bigger and more athletic than he is used to playing against. He may find it harder to penetrate and get to the rim but at just 19, he is going to put on more weight and strength (especially working with Steve Hess) which may help him cope with the bigger bodies of the NBA.
One question surrounding the young Frenchman is whether he will play in the Mile High straight away or spend another year in France developing both his game and his body. If Fournier does indeed suit up for the Nuggets this season it will be interesting to see if George Karl inserts him into the rotation or he if he is banished to the bench apart from garbage time. My gut feeling would be the latter. If and when Karl decides to make Fournier a rotation player in the line-up, its going to be hard to find a spot for him with Afflalo, Chandler, and Hamilton all in the Nuggets long-term plans as well.
After becoming a little more educated on Evan Fournier i can personally say that I feel good about using our 20th selection on the Frenchman. Obviously there is still a lot to find out about this kid and I've only scratched the surface with this post, however I have faith in Masai Ujiri and our front office that this pick will pan out and we will look back on this draft and say "Wow, we got the two steals of the draft in Fournier at 20 and Miller at 38!"
I hope I have educated you guys more on Evan Fournier, hte pressing question that hopefully will be answered in the following days or weeks is whether Fournier will actually suit up for the Nuggets ths coming season or not, until then enjoy these highlights of Evan Fournier and answer the Poll!