France Wins as Evan Fournier Doesn’t Impress Against Croatia
After sitting out France’s first friendly of its FIBA World Cup preparation against Belgium with a slightly pulled groin, new Orlando Magic acquisition Evan Fournier saw his first national team action of the year on Friday. In what was the first of a 3-day exhibition tourney that the French Basketball Federation is hosting apart of its Blue-White Tour in Pau, France, they defeated Croatia 81-71. France needed a 22-2 run in the fourth period to take the victory.
Fournier came off the bench and played just under 12 minutes, the majority of which came in the first half as he saw no crunch time minutes. Evan tallied 2 points on 1-for-5 shooting and 2 rebounds. Below is his shot chart.
Orlando’s 12th overall Draft selection Dario Saric – who the Magic traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Elfrid Payton – was a huge reason for why Croatia stormed back after trailing 24-10 following the completion of the first period. Saric had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 5 rebounds. Luka Zoric led all scorers with 20 points. France was led by Thomas Heurtel who had 14 points and Nando De Colo who tallied 13 points.
It was a not a good first impression left by Evan who is by no means a shoe-in for a World Cup roster spot. He’s competing against guys like Edwin Jackson, and Coach Vincent Collet already left Fournier off the 12-man roster last year before France went on to win EuroBasket.
The 21-year-old Fournier just did not appear comfortable playing off-the-ball so much. In Fournier’s defense, Heurtel and De Colo did not display steady ball handling. I’m stating the obvious, but this squad is going to deeply miss Tony Parker at the helm. The few open looks Evan did have he short-rimmed. Evan can’t afford to miss 3-pointers when no defenders present themselves within ten feet of him. In the first half, Evan did show off his transition game by out-running 3 Croatians down the court and making a potentially difficult lay-up appear easy. It’s early in preparation and there are plenty of games ahead, so there’s no need to panic yet.
The French Basketball Federation also released Part 2 of their very nicely done team series:
France continues this mini-tourney that they’re hosting in Pau, France on Saturday as they will take on Greece.