Evan Fournier will challenge to be a starter for the Denver Nuggets (Photo: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)
Evan Fournier ended his rookie season as the starting shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets and he could very well find himself in the same role this season. The Nuggets signed Randy Foye in the offseason and many expect Foye to be named the starter. However, thus far in preseason Fournier has shown himself to be a more productive option for the team.
Fournier only appeared in 38 games for the Nuggets last season under George Karl before the coach went to him late in the season following the knee injury Danilo Gallinari suffered. Karl gave the young Frenchman the start in the first game of the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. However, he did not play at all in the fourth quarter and Karl did not utilize him very much for the rest of the series and the Nuggets would go on to lose the series 4-2.
The second-year guard is capable of scoring on the perimeter or taking his man off the dribble and driving to the basket for a layup. At 6’7 Fournier is the Nuggets tallest, most traditional option at shooting guard. Denver is building toward the future and developing its young talent under new head coach Brian Shaw. For all of the reasons above, expect to see Fournier get a lot of playing time this season.
This highlight reel shows off one of Fournier’s best games in his young career. He scored 24 points and tallied 4 rebound, 4 assists and 3 steals against the Portland Trailblazers. Fournier also displays his valuable 40.7% three-point shooting – an area that has been a weakness for the Nuggets lately and also tallied the highest assist percentage of any non-point guard on the team. The Frenchman has also been a quick study of Shaw’s new offense that brings the triangle to Denver – European players often perform well in this system.
While he likely has an advantage to get a good amount of minutes, Fournier definitely has somethings that he needs to improve on this season. Namely on the defensive end where he looked lost at times last season.
The Nuggets shocked the basketball world at the 2012 NBA Draft when they selected Fournier at 20th overall, largely because most Nuggets had never heard of him before. During the run up to the playoffs last season, he became a fan-favorite and inspired Denver Post columnist, Benjamin Hochman to give the rookie a nickname and his own hashtag on Twitter. Anytime that Fournier would make a play #morechampagne would bombard the Twitter timeline of Nuggets fans. For the sake of a successful season, let’s hope for #morechampagne indeed.
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