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- Measurables: 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, 19-year-old forward from Poitiers (France)
- Key Stats: 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 52 percent and 27 percent from 3-point range
- Projected: Mid first round
Why I’m intrigued by this guy
I obviously haven’t seen much of Fournier, since he’s an international prospect, but the name tossed around most often in comparisons is fellow Frenchmen Nicolas Batum. That comparison, along with the fact that France has produced significant NBA talent in recent years — Tony Parker, Batum, Boris Diaw, Roddy Beaubois to name a few — has me sufficiently excited about Fournier as a prospect.
Pros for the Pistons
Small forward is a position of need for the Pistons. I won’t start another Tayshaun Prince debate here, other than to say he’s getting older and, even if you believe he’s well-suited for big minutes now, that type of role is certainly not in his or the team’s best interest for the life of his contract. He needs to ease into a more secondary role and the Pistons need a successor.
The good news with Fournier? At age 19, he’s still a raw talent who, like Batum, may need to gradually work his way into the lineup. This would suit Prince, who is reportedly hesitant to cede the primary role he’s been in the past few seasons, and it could be good for the Pistons, who would have a competent veteran in place to keep in the small forward job as Fournier develops.
And if he develops? He’s a lanky slasher who handles the ball well, finishes well and, because of his length and athleticism, could project into a bothersome defensive player.
Cons for the Pistons
Fournier is currently projected to go just outside the lottery, somewhere in the 15-20 range. So if the Pistons like him, they might be reaching a bit if they take him with their lottery pick. That’s the only way they’d get him, too — there’s no way Fournier falls out of the first round. If anything, his youth and upside will help him climb. One thing that perhaps hurt his stock, as is mentioned below, is that Fournier didn’t play in this year’s Nike Hoops Summit, so he’s still a bit of an unknown commodity.
He’s also not a great 3-point shooter yet, something the Pistons desperately need more of. Putting Fournier on the floor with their other entrenched wing, Rodney Stuckey, would mean two of the Pistons’ three perimeter positions would be occupied by players who aren’t 3-point threats (although Stuckey has at least made that shot a more competent part of his arsenal). The Pistons undoubtedly will look big first in the lottery, but if their targets come off the board, Fournier is one of the prospects just outside the lottery who is a gamble but might have more upside than the more limited bigs towards the back of the lottery.
What others are saying
Fournier is a productive, scoring two guard who thrives at getting to the basket. He has good size for his position and is producing as a 19 year old in the French League. He needs to get stronger and he really needs to improve his jump shot, but teams could take a flier on him in the late first round.
He possesses ideal physical attributes for a NBA wing at 6-7 with a strong frame, and has the ability to create his own shot very effectively thanks to his excellent size, strength, and ball-handling skills. Despite his height, he’s able to get very low with his dribble, showing terrific footwork and body control driving into the lane, often using crafty change of speed moves, spins and hesitations.
Patient and mature with his drives, he reads the secondary line of defense extremely well, frequently making intelligent passes off the dribble to cutting teammates as help-side defenders rotate towards him.
Considered to be the top European shooting guard talent of the 1992 age group.
The lowdown on Fournier: he has excellent size, plays at a free-flowing pace, quick, can handle the ball and finish, solid defensively and isn’t afraid to get into the paint.
How will this translate to the NBA, particularly when it comes to guarding bigger and stronger guards or wing players? Is he really first round material or will he slide into the second round come June 28, in Newark, New Jersey?
While there are a lot of “wait and see” factors to consider, the tools are certainly there in Fournier’s game.
What is the best thing Evan Fournier does for his team?
Wendell Maxeey (follow him on Twitter) is one of the best in the business when it comes to reporting on overseas basketball. He writes for Ridiculous Upside and read more about his background here. A must-read for die-hard hoops fans:
Evan Fournier is coming off a season with Poitiers in the Pro-A French League where his all around numbers (14 points per game, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game) and abilities certainly justify being a mid to late first round prospect this draft, but his stock did slip some by not participating in the Nike Hoop Summit last month. Lanky and athletic on both ends of the floor, the body type and French swagger screams Nicolas Batum, but at 19 years old (Fournier turns 20 in October) the transition to the NBA remains a mystery especially when it comes to guarding quicker and stronger two-guards. Still, Fournier has solid upside: high basketball IQ, good size at 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, and three years of pro experience under his belt. Don’t be surprised if a team like Houston or San Antonio makes a play for Fournier.
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