After beginning his Boston Celtics career with a 0-point, 0-10 from the field performance against the New Orleans Pelicans, Evan Fournier has found his stride. Hitting 10 of his last 11 threes over the past two games, the new acquisition is providing everything that Celtics fans desire in his week in Celtic green.
The Celtics have shown flashes of greatness these past two games, in part due to the addition of Fournier. By adding the Frenchmen, the Celtics’ bench, which was once their biggest flaw, has become passable and even a strength on certain nights.
Although the Cs have played inferior opponents in their last two games, both of their wins were convincing, bringing the team back to .500 through 50 games. The team showcased ball movement that has been lacking all season, recording 35 and 29 assists as a team, respectively. Those types of numbers have translated into winning basketball, and the Celtics will do anything for wins.
Evan Fournier could be the Boston Celtics’ missing piece
At only a modest price of two second-round picks, GM Danny Ainge snagged the 28-year-old away from the Orlando Magic, a team finally starting their rebuild. Averaging almost 20 points a game this year, Fournier was destined to take a lesser role in the offense, deferring to the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. However, he might function best as a complementary piece, not having to play make for himself all the time.
In Orlando, he was often his team’s best player on the floor, with the offense having to revolve around him for any hope of success. In Boston, he can become a secondary playmaker and ball-handler, while still maintaining his great shooting from outside. By adding a knock-down shooter off the bench, the lives of Brown and Tatum just got that much easier.
The Celtics have been looking for shooters to support their stars all season, hoping Aaron Nesmith could fill the void through the draft, but he isn’t ready just yet. Relying on Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye to make a high percentage of their three-point shots is a risky move, as they’ve shown to be inconsistent on the offensive end. By adding Fournier, Boston has a shooter that can both run off screens and shoot off the dribble, spacing the offense that much more.
This should also allow Tatum and Brown to play more aggressively and attack the basket more, as the opposing team will need to respect Fournier’s ability to hit his shot. He obviously won’t make 10 out of every 11 threes, but he has the ability to provide consistent offense, something that the Boston Celtics bench hasn’t had in quite some time.
Additionally, he has shown his playmaking abilities off in only four games. Leading the team in assists on Sunday night with six, Fournier can act as the main ball-handler in certain bench lineups if need be. With Tatum, Brown, and Kemba Walker carrying so much of the offensive load, it might be a good idea to put the ball more in Evan’s hands, giving the other three chances to play off the ball.
On defense, he has good length for his position (standing at six-foot-seven) and can hold up in the defensive schemes. He certainly isn’t guarding the opposing team’s best player, but he likely won’t be played off the floor either. With Marcus Smart now on his team, his life should get easier on the defensive end.
Although it’s only four games and against inferior opponents, Evan Fournier might be the piece the Boston Celtics needed to take the next step as a team.