#NuggetsRank No. 14: Evan Fournier

Funny how things work in life. A mere three months ago Evan Fournier was the pariah of Nuggets Nation before even stepping foot on the court wearing blue and yellow. Then when he actually did, you know, start playing basketball — people come around. And fast.

We’re not going to lie. The degree of separation between Fournier at 14 and Quincy Miller at 15 is almost nonexistent. The same thing can be said for Fournier and our next Nugget who will appear at No. 13. The fact is, it’s extremely hard to tell where a lot of the lower-ranked third of the Nuggets on our list truly belong. As we’ve come to find out with George Karl, just because you ride the bench doesn’t necessarily mean you’re worse than people who are logging consistent minutes.

What earned Fournier this spot is simple: his Summer League play.

In Vegas, Fournier looked good. He didn’t blow people out of the water, but he certain surpassed most fans’ expectations. What he proved, above all else, is that he belonged. Averaging the second most points per game of any Nugget behind Jordan Hamilton at 14.8, Fournier finished with a better scoring average than Top 10 picks Terrence Ross and Thomas Robinson. He played with confidence, swagger and an edge that you want to see from guys who are just breaking into the league. Even his defense was far more impressive than anyone would have thought for a rookie who’s main obligation with his former team was carrying the load in scoring.

Unlike Quincy Miller, Fournier’s path to playing time could be relatively attainable when glancing into the near future. Outside of Andre Iguodala (who some consider to be a better small forward anyways), Fournier is the only real shooting guard on the Nuggets 15-man roster. He also fits the George Karl mold in that he thrives off getting to the basket and relies heavily on his distribution skills. When considering he’s been playing professional basketball since age 16, it seems likely that his growing spurts and adjustments will come at a more friendly rate than that of Quincy Miller.

Watching Evan Fournier develop is going to be just as interesting as watching any of the other Nuggets young guns grow. Why? Because nobody knows anything about him. Who is the real Evan Fournier? Who is he? The one that shows strength in the face of adversity or instead, crumbles? The one that comes through in the clutch or withers in the spotlight? The one that takes the blame even if it’s not his fault, or the one that would rather let his teammate take the fall? These are the questions that Fournier will soon answer to help us, as fans, better understand who he really is not only as a basketball player, but as a man.

Judging by his play, bravado and overall demeanor at Summer League, Fournier is a lot more eager to answers these types of tough questions than we are to ask them.

I’ll take that as an answer in itself. And a good one too.

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  • John L.

    Immediately Fournier is better than Quincy so I will agree with this for now. In the long run I see Quincy being the better player.

    1. Iguodala
    2. Ty
    3. Gallinari
    4. McGee
    5. Faried
    6. Wilson Chandler
    7. Andre Miller
    8. Timofey Mozgov
    9. Kosta Koufos
    10. Corey Brewer
    11. Jordan Hamilton
    12. Anthony Randolph
    13. Juliyan Stone
    14. Evan Fournier
    15. Quincy Miller

    • John L.

      I will say, that I would not be suprised if Lawson goes #1 and Iggy goes #2

    • michael gray

      I’d have to say on pure skill and utility (not on positional need) Brewer would be above both back up centers (in my opinion).

  • jake

    I was just about to jump on and push you guys to get #14 posted. You already have. Thank you for giving me a nibble of a nugget.

    I’m really excited to see what frenchie can do for us. His youtube vids are impressive. George likes the two point guard set. This could mean 5 less minutes of Andre a night. Which most nights we’re all thankful for. Love Dre, since Utah, but sometimes he gets complacent, and sometimes he looks over confident. To have him less gassed would help stabilize his regularly awesome and brutal attack on the game.

  • JetLife82

    There’s something exciting about the worst three players on your team being young prospects rather than ageing veterans, injury replacements etc. I gotta say the future looks bright. Sky’s the limit for these guys.

  • Aaron

    So Are Yuhh Guys (RMC Writers) Saying Nuggets Did Terrible in This Years Draft Sense The Nuggets 2 Picks Are #15 And #14 Or Are Yuhh Saying The Nuggets Extremely Deep?

    • https://twitter.com/denbutsu denbutsu

      Speaking personally, and not for the other writers, I have to be honest and confess that on draft day I was not happy about the Fournier pick, but found the Q-Mil pick somewhat redeeming. Summer League went a long way in convincing me of the plausibility that Evan may not have been as much of a reach at #20 as it first seemed. But as much as I acknowledge that Ujiri deserves the benefit of the doubt for his complete body of work as the head of the Nuggets FO, I remain somewhat skeptical, and to me the jury will still be out until we have the chance to see Fournier face up against NBA competition on a regular basis over the next couple of seasons.

      That said, my position is a pretty far cry from feeling that Denver had a “terrible” draft, and given their depth and the unpredictability of lower first round picks, they could afford to take a risk. It’s absolutely no problem that the two draft picks are at the bottom of our rankings. They haven’t had the chance to prove themselves yet, and #20/#38 don’t carry any weight of the expectations that lotto picks do.

  • Paul

    Based on basketball skill alone, and not based on positional need, here is my list.
    1. Iguodala (all around player)
    2. Ty (quick fast scorer, will learn to see the floor better working longer with andre, and now iggy)
    3. Gallinari (can be elite if he is more aggressive and attacks the rim more often, should get more rebounds for his size)
    4. McGee( Bone headed mistakes keep him from being a top 5 center, he might be anyway)
    5. Wilson Chandler (great scorer and defender, the perfect 6th man off the bench)
    6. Faried (is productive from hustle alone, should improve fundamentals after working with hakeem this summer)
    7. Andre Miller (runs the floor well and knows how to get players involved, great mentor for a team learning how to win)
    8. Corey Brewer (athletic hustler, ignites the team whenever in the game, my favorite)
    9. Kosta Koufos (more athletic and better decision maker than mozgov, although they are practically the same skill wise)
    10. Timofey Mozgov (better shooter and stronger than koufos, needs to be way more aggressive if he wants a long career in the NBA, he showed a little in the olympics what he can do)
    11. Anthony Randolph (classic under achiever, maybe playing for a winning team and having a coach who will bench poor play will make him an effective bench player)
    12. Jordan Hamilton (scorer who showed in summer league he can score with the best of them, but also showed iffy decision making)
    13. Julyan Stone( This guy can flat out play point guard, his shooting is nonexistent at this point in his career, but every other aspect seems to be present. Too bad he is missing the most important skill in basketball)
    14. Evan Fournier (Slashing player, that seems to like handling the rock, showed unselfishness with the ball)
    15. Quincy Miller ( raw talent who should improve quickly)

    • ryanvdonk

      in what way is kosta more athletic than mozzy? he’s more fundamentally sound, but moz is a lot better at running the floor and is a bit quicker, and a better jumper.

  • Why you only baby sittin only 2 or 3 shot?

    THE FRENCH HOPE