The Denver Nuggets didn’t shock the world, but they did shock their fans when they drafted shooting guard Evan Fourner from France with the 20th pick.
While the initial reaction from fans is disappointment since players like Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones were on the board with Denver’s pick, but Masai Ujiri should get the benefit of the doubt. He’s done everything for the Nuggets franchise except turn water into wine (serious Ujiri, when is the miracle going to occur?).
Also the Fournier pick shouldn’t be too surprising for a couple of reasons. He is a player the Nuggets can stash overseas and one that doesn’t take up a roster spot. Denver currently already have 12 roster spots taken (including Chris Andersen) and want to re-sign or replace JaVale McGee and Andre Miller. And lets not forget that George Karl doesn’t like to play rookies. This also may end up being Ujiri’s gem, since he used to be a global scout. Which is apparent with the Nuggets roster which featured European stars Timofey Mozgov, Danilo Gallinari and Rudy Fernandez last season.
Fournier has impressed a lot of scouts at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, showing great handle for his size and a solid athleticism. He also showed a very high basketball IQ for his age (19) and many believe he is the best player to come out of France since Tony Parker. He has great size (6-foot-7, 204 pounds) for the shooting guard position and has a very mature offensive game. Portland forward Nicolas Batum has even compared Fournier to Manu Ginobili. However, most scouts have compared him to New Orleans’ guard Marco Bellinelli.
Fournier’s offensive game is very smooth and he has a great first step and uses his size to attack the basket. There are also reports that he is great in the clutch.
If he can turn into anything close to Ginobili than the Nuggets got a steal, but even if he doesn’t it is a pick that shouldn’t hurt them (well, unless Jones or Sullinger turn into studs).