Evan Fournier finds himself heading down familiar territory with the Orlando Magic. Could he be on a path similar to a former Orlando Magic player Hedo Turkoglu?
In eight years of play, Hedo Turkoglu cemented himself in Orlando Magic history. Time after time, he carried the Orlando Magic in big moments. If the team played well, Turkoglu was a contributing reason for their success. When the team played poorly, it usually fell on his hands and fans called for him to be traded. He made big shot after big shot. Single-handed, he could control a game with his play making ability. Standing 6’10, his mismatches stood out on the court. He established himself as one of the more consistent players on the roster. And now, Evan Fournier finds himself in a similar position with the team.
10 years later, Fournier is beginning to resemble Hedo Turkoglu. He is arguably one of the only players on the Magic roster that is capable of carrying a team. Mirroring Turkoglu’s game, Fournier is capable of creating plays with the ball in his hands. His 6’7 height enables him to see over the top of defenses. And he has proven he is not afraid to take a shot in big moments.
Statistically, Fournier has been one of the more consistent players since joining the team three years ago. Every year he has increased his scoring average, rebound average, and assist average while maintaining respectable shooting percentages. When he plays well, the team plays well. When they play poorly, the trade winds usually start to surround his name.
But, make no mistake about it, he is a play-maker for this team.
He is also is the scapegoat.
The Past with Hedo Turkoglu
Back in 2007, Hedo Turkoglu, found himself in a similar position. The Magic had been to the playoffs for consecutive seasons. Regardless, fans wanted him traded to bring in better talent. The Magic simply didn’t have enough offensive weapons to win the conference over teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Turkoglu took most of the responsibility for the team’s failure. No one dared to suggest the team trade the offensively challenged Dwight Howard. He was superman. He was the second coming of Shaquille O’neal for Orlando. And the team loved Shaquille O’neal.
In 2008, Turkoglu posted his best statistical NBA season and won the NBA most improved player award with averages of 19.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game. A year later, the Magic found themselves in the NBA Finals. And that following off-season he was gone.
The Present and Beyond with Evan Fournier
It’s 2017 and the Magic are under-performing — again. Fans are blaming the most consistent player on the Magic roster — again.
The team has made a few new additions this off-season to complete the roster but many people believe Fournier needs to be traded. Those feelings were amplified after Fournier made an appearance of a foreign radio show that misinterpreted his words. Fournier later cleared up the confusion. But the feeling in Orlando hasn’t changed much — a trade will occur that ships him out-of-town.
Evan Fournier’s time in Orlando may be winding down. If so, it should be based on how he fits with the new management’s style of play.
The Magic front office have identified the type of team they want to be — a defensively athletic team. And Fournier is not that type of player. He is an offensive player with below average athleticism. And below average defense at best. Every focus of the roster additions this off-season has hinted at improving the team’s defense.
But should the team consider trading him this year?
One thing that is clear for Orlando is Fournier’s ability to create on offense. Despite the influx of defensive-minded players, someone has to be able to create and or convert offense for the team consistently. And Evan Fournier is the most reliable player on the roster headed into the 2017-18 season.
But as of now, he finds himself being treated similarly to Hedo Turkoglu. Loved and hated all at the same time.
And that could see him leaving the team after consistent years of being productive.