2012 International Draftee Scouting Reports (Part III): Evan Fournier
Fournier is the highest-rated international prospect this year and likely the only prospect that has a shot of being chosen in the first round. Currently slated to go somewhere in the late first round, or possibly early second round, which seems about right.
Fournier was the top player on Poitiers, a bottom-dwelling team in the French Pro A League (LNB). In 30 LNB games, Evan averaged 14 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 spg, 2.2 TOpg and 42.5 overall shooting in 26 minutes/game.
Plays with confidence and smarts of an experienced vet. Clever, fundamentally sound player. Capable of playing three positions.
What pushes him down late in the first round is the uncertainty how much his game will translate to NBA. Solid athlete in Europe but will be a below-average athlete compared to NBA wings. He also needs to bulk up.
The key to his success is his superior ball skills combined with nice footwork. Uses jab-steps and change-of-pace dribbles well to set up his defender. His first step is impressive.
Has the full arsenal of dribble moves: very good crossover, spins, between-legs, euro-type step-thrus and step-backs.
Capable of creating shots for himself in isolation situations. Uses step-back move well to create space for jumper.
Poitiers ran a ton of offense through Fournier this season. Ran plenty of pick/roll and fared very well when looking for his shot off pick/roll possessions where he put up 0.98 points-per-possession, according to Synergy Sports.
Good finisher in traffic thanks not so much to good hops, but more good body control. On all shots at the rim he managed a very respectable 1.25 PPP. Good passer for a wing, finds teammates the other side of the floor well.
Another thing giving GMs/scouts pause about Fournier's potential was his subpar shooting numbers this season--only shot 28% on 3PA. Though, don't think he's as a poor shooter as the numbers suggest.
He does possess a nice stroke but does not seem to always get his legs underneath him. He did a good job hitting pull-ups off ball screens. Think he just needs to get more consistent getting his legs into his shot.
Not a bad defender by Euro standards. Anticipates well (seems to know the ball-handler's tendencies) and has decent footwork. Does a good job forcing his man to change direction.
Possesses quick hands that help him get a good number of steals. Multiple times stripped the ball right out of the ball-handler hands, which was impressive.
Definitely will have issues trying to keep up with NBA wings on the defensive end. He's just at too much of a quickness disadvantage.
His strong package of smarts, ball-handling and footwork could help him compensate for a lack of quickness vs. NBA wings on the offensive end. He proved he could snake his way into the lane in France, which is probably the most athletic domestic league in Europe.
*--Here's what we had say about Fournier's performance at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summitt:
Evan Fournier (6-7 SG/SF, France, age 18): Hard to tell if he's destined for the NBA or the Euroleague; latter seems likelier as of now. Struggled at times but also showed some nice skills. Like his handle with both hands and he combined this with good footwork to score on a couple drives in the painted area. Good shooting stroke and scoring instincts overall, but not sure if he'd be able to finish in the league (he wasn't able to do so against Anthony Davis in the game). Dropped a nice bounce pass in transition coming out of a spin move. Had 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists on 2-8 FG in 22 minutes. Maybe a 2nd-round prospect because of skill package plus smarts.