Magic new addition Fourier ready to contribute
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Players that are traded to a new team typically appreciate when their new teammates reach out to welcome them. New Orlando Magic addition Evan Fournier had an extra surprise when one of his new teammates did so by speaking to him in his native tongue.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic exchanged greetings with Fournier in French as the former Denver Nugget point guard and French league product was formally introduced at a news conference Tuesday.
“Nik’s French was great. I was surprised,” Fournier said. “It’s exciting to be around a group of young players like we have here. When you’re young, you don’t want to make mistakes and you want to work hard.”
Fournier was dealt to the Magic in a draft night draft trade that sent Arron Afflalo back to Denver. Orlando also picked up a second-round draft pick in the deal.
With the Magic releasing 10-year veteran point guard Jameer Nelson on Monday, they got a lot younger and set the stage for competition next season in the Magic backcourt.
Cast back into the lottery after a 23-59 finish last season, Orlando used the second of its two first-round picks to obtain Louisiana-Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton. Victor Oladipo is coming off a solid rookie season and there’s also Devyn Marble, who the Magic acquired with that second-round pick from Denver.
The 6-foot-7 Fournier appeared in 76 games and averaged 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in his second season as a Nugget last season. He had a better shooting year his rookie season, connecting on 54 percent inside the arc and 41 percent from three-point range.
Fournier said the young environment is one he is looking forward to playing in. He also wants to make an effort to be more involved offensively.
“In Denver, I was more of a stationary shooter,” Fournier said. “Here, I want to initiate the offense. I know I can do that.”
Fournier, 21, was labeled as a rising star in the French league prior to being drafted with the 26th pick by the Nuggets in the 2011 draft.
He thinks the success of French products like San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Boris Diaw in the NBA have also helped him to get recognized.