Rudy Gobert defends Knicks’ Evan Fournier amidst rotation battle

New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) brings the ball up court against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Shake Milton (18) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks shooting guard Evan Fournier is not expected to make the rotation despite strong preseason performances. Minnesota Timberwolves star center Rudy Gobert recently came to Fournier’s defense in what has been a tricky situation for him since last season.

Rudy Gobert defends Evan Fournier

“I think he can contribute and help a lot of teams. I think everybody knows it,” said Gobert to The New York Post. “But it’s kind of weird when you end up on the bench and you don’t really know why. Sometimes you can be stuck in a situation — I know he’s going to have an opportunity again, and everybody will understand that he can help and win.”

Gobert added that the situation Fournier has been put in has been “disrespectful” towards him, and emphasized that he deserves a better opportunity.

Fournier longing for a role in the lineup

Fournier scored 15 points on 60% shooting from the floor and knocked down three outside shots in Saturday’s preseason game against Gobert and the Wolves. It was the second double-digit scoring performance of the preseason for him, though the odds to make the rotation are against him given the team’s success with him out of the rotation last season.

The 30-year-old sharpshooter has been adamant since last offseason that he wants to play, and has vocalized his level of confidence that he can provide a positive impact to the Knicks on any given night.

Entering the offseason, the expectation was that Fournier was going to be suiting up for a different team by the start of the season, but as of now he is going to have to earn his spot back in the Knicks’ gameplan.

New York went 37-22 last season with him out of the lineup, and head coach Tom Thibodeau defended his decision to boot Fournier from receiving playing time during his Media Day session.

The Knicks have a decision to make regarding Fournier

Fournier’s recent play could stir up some conversations regarding his inclusion in the rotation, but it will take a lot of convincing for Thibodeau to pull the trigger. Therefore, the best-case scenario for the Knicks is that his solid play will boost his draft stock.

Whether that happens remains to be seen.

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