Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau on Evan Fournier: ‘Be a pro, and see how it unfolds’

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has always been known for his straightforwardness and did not shy away when asked about his views on Evan Fournier’s discontent with his lack of playing time during the 2022-23 NBA season.

Tom Thibodeau comments on the Evan Fournier situation

New York Post reporter Stefan Bondy shared this quote from Thibodeau on Fournier needing to be a team player for the greater good of the organization:

“Your job is to stay ready. So whatever you’re doing, go out there and do it. Be part of the team.” 

Fournier’s diminished playing time

Fournier started in seven of his 27 games played last season. He saw a significant drop-off in playing time from 2021-22 where he started 80 games. He logged 19 DNPs from Feb. 15 to March 31 and was never established into the Knicks’ rotation.

Despite performing well in the 2020 Summer Olympics for the French national team, Fournier was overtaken by forward Quentin Grimes in the lineup. Grimes helped contribute to the third-highest-scoring five-man lineup in the league last year and improved his efficiency from his rookie season.

Fournier, 30, is not far removed from a career season in 2020-21 where he averaged 19.7 points per game on 46.1 percent shooting from the floor.

Could Fournier still fit into the Knicks’ rotation?

A streaky scorer, Fournier sported the second-worst defensive rating on the Knicks a year prior as a key rotational piece. Fournier went off for 41 points including 10 made threes in New York’s Jan. 16 win over the Boston Celtics.

Despite his 10 games with 25 or more points scored, Grimes, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart’s contributions to the Knicks have received more favor than what Fournier presently brings to the table.

The Knicks have every intention of returning to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Having Fournier on the bench still gifts the team with an offensive threat. Whether or not Fournier tries to force his way out of the Big Apple remains to be seen.

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