Evan Fournier, shooting guard for the Orlando Magic, is one of five players in the top 50 in ESPN Basic Fantasy Basketball who is owned in less than 80% of leagues. Along with Fournier (64.5% owned, #48 Player Rater) are Richaun Holmes (71.5% owned, #14 PR, wow), Jonathan Isaac (62.3% owned, #34 PR), Brook Lopez (49.5 % owned, #43 PR), and Fake Teams favorite Robert Covington (56.6% owned, #49 PR). Fournier—again, the 48th best player in basic fantasy basketball so far this year—has averages of 19 PPG on 14+ FGA per game (and, 6+ 3PA per game), 2+ RPG, 3+ APG, and 3+ FTA per game, while shooting 47% from the field and 40% from three.
Who is he and why is he so under-rostered?
Fewer than 40 players are averaging 19+ points per game this season (we’re not counting Steph Curry), including Fournier, who has the 13th best FG% of the group.
52 players (at least 20 games played) are averaging 14+ shots per game. Fournier (14.4 FGA per game) shoots more than Nikola Jokic (14.3 FGA per game) which seems like an indictment of both Orlando and Denver. Of those 52 players, Evan Fournier has the 16th best field goal percentage (47.3%). Luka Doncic is 17th with a 47 FG%.
46 players are averaging 6+ 3PA per game (again, 20+ games played this season). Of those 46, Fournier has the eighth best 3PT% (40.6%), better than Kemba Walker, Paul George, Luke Kennard, CJ McCollum, James Harden, Trae Young, Buddy Hield, and Fournier’s Orlando Magic teammate, Terrence Ross.
32 players are averaging 19+ PPG, 2+ RPG, and 3+ APG. Fournier has the second best 3PT% of that group of players, behind only the Big KAT, Karl-Anthony Towns.
Only 20 players are matching that 19-2-3 line PLUS average 6+ 3PA per game, and, of course, Fournier has the second best 3PT% of those 20 players, too. ALL of those players are owned more than Evan Fournier. If you add in Fournier’s 1 Steal Per Game, then that list drops down to 13 players. Only THIRTEEN PLAYERS are delivering Fournier’s combination of stats, and they’re ALL at least 90% owned...except for Evan Fournier.
In real life, Fourner’s salary is $17 million this season with a player option for next season, and this upcoming offseason is supposedly light on star free agents, which means Fournier could cash in handsomely. The Magic are currently in the 8th seed in the East, but they’re also a losing team with a sub-.500 record of 16-20. The Charlotte Hornets (!) are one game behind them in the standings. Jonathan Isaac, perhaps Orlando’s best player, is out with an injury for at least 2 months. The Magic are in a pickle: should they start trading players and give up on the season? Or, should they try to make the playoffs, maybe even try to upgrade their roster, and then get crushed by the Bucks in the first round?
Fournier could get VERY expensive next season, and there’s almost no reason for him to opt in since he won’t have much competition on the free agent market, he’s still young, the Magic don’t seem to be going anywhere fast, and outside shooting is at a premium in the New NBA.
Could the Magic trade Fournier?
The teams in the playoffs as of today that are also in the bottom 10 of the league in team 3PT% are the Nets, the Thunder, and the Nuggets. The Nets don’t have to make a trade for this season, because they get Kevin Durant back next season (and, hopefully, a healthy Kyrie Irving). Trading for Fournier merely to lose him to free agency doesn’t make any sense for Brooklyn. Denver could trade Mason Plumlee for Fournier’s contract, along with a pick, though Fournier would crowd Golden Gary Harris, and possibly add another one too many players to an already crowded team, especially since Michael Porter Jr, has been playing. Denver doesn’t need Fournier.
The OKC Thunder, however! They’re a winning team, 20-15, that could absolutely use some perimeter scoring. Send Andre Roberson (who’s returning and can’t score), along with Terrance Ferguson (who also can’t score) with some salary filler, and one of the Thunder’s plethora of extra draft picks, and you’ve got yourself a trade! The Thunder could be, and should be, a dangerous team in the playoffs, especially if everyone is healthy. If they can trade for Fournier, while simultaneously keeping him off of other Western playoff teams, then the Thunder will improve their chances, while cutting salary in the offseason (they can just let Fournier walk), and keeping most of their draft picks. And a trade for Fournier means his ratios could improve, since he’ll probably have more open shots.
Fournier’s having a career year, and he’s entering his prime. He’s as valuable an asset in fantasy as he is in real life.