Although it seems like Fournier will likely return to the bench once RJ Barrett (finger) and Obi Toppin (knee) return from their respective injuries, the Knicks could also consider keeping Fournier in the rotation long-term to help boost the bench offense.
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Evan Fournier could be very impactful off the bench
Fournier has been impactful given the circumstances, having scored a total of 24 points in the three games, and has made at least one three-pointer in all three appearances.
The Knicks as a team are benefiting from adding him back into the rotation, as they are 2-1 in the three games he has played and have scored at least 100 points in all three games.
While Fournier is not exploding for 20+ point games, he is providing a small boost to a bench that has consistently struggled to generate offense.
Since cutting the rotation down to nine players on December 4th, the Knicks rank dead last in bench points per game at an abysmal 23.4 a game. The bench also ranks third-worst in the NBA in three-point percentage in that span at just 29.5%.
With the injury to Toppin, the only serious scoring threat in the second unit is Immanuel Quickley. While the bench’s defense has been phenomenal, the lack of scoring output has put serious weight on the starters to generate nearly all of the offense.
Pros and Cons of playing Fournier
Keeping Fournier on the bench long-term has its pros and cons.
It could help fix the three-point shooting issues from the bench, as his biggest strength is shooting from distance. As a result, the scoring off the bench will go up, and including him as a part of a ten-man rotation will avoid the younger players from playing large quantities of minutes when they are not used to that workload. You also include an established veteran on a bench unit that is very young.
However, there is an obvious defensive setback that will occur by playing Fournier more, and that could affect the cohesiveness of the second unit’s juggernaut on that side of the ball.
Also, it is worth noting that the Knicks have been looking for trades for Fournier to play elsewhere, with the hope being that one can get done before the trade deadline, so there is also a risk of him suffering a serious injury by playing him more amidst the trade talks.
The Knicks definitely will need to consider if it is worth inserting Fournier back into the rotation for good. While on the surface, it may be unpopular amongst Knicks fans, there are benefits that could come from giving him some action.
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