One of the biggest questions heading into the 2021 offseason for the Mavericks surrounds the off-guard position next to Luka Doncic. Tim Hardaway Jr. has played that role admirably for the last two and a half seasons, but his future is up in the air as he enters free agency on Aug. 2 with plenty of suitors. If Hardaway heads elsewhere in 2021, the Mavs could look to Evan Fournier to solve their guard needs.
Fournier is a proven NBA scorer, averaging 14.3 points per game over his career, and over 15 a game for the last six seasons. At 6’7, Fournier can play shooting guard or small forward, while also acting as a secondary ball handler, able to take pressure off the point guard. Given Doncic’s absurd usage rate down the stretch in the postseason, the Mavs will want to relieve their franchise player of some of the pressure he endures on a game to game basis.
Fournier is able to score at all three levels in a variety of ways, and is able to use his 6’7 frame to create mismatches against smaller defenders. While he isn’t going to be any team’s primary creator, he is someone who doesn’t mind sharing the ball-handing responsibilities with a point guard and is able to make plays for himself when he needs to. But make no mistake, Fournier is paid to score.
Fournier isn’t going to lock anyone up on defense. While he can be serviceable in a team concept with his length, he’s not the one being called upon when the game is on the line. Averaging less than three rebounds for his career, Fournier is a little disappointing on the boards for someone of his stature. While Doncic is an improved defender from when he first entered the league, he’s not going to win any all-defensive awards either.
The Mavs will need a wing who can provide solid defending next to him, which is what they anticipated Josh Richardson being. Needless to say, that one didn’t work out as planned.
Fit with the Mavericks
There is certainly a scenario where Fournier slides into the starting lineup for the Mavs in either the two or three slot, depending on the opponent. Fournier’s offensive abilities make him a nice compliment to Doncic, while slightly upgrading in the size and ball-handling category from Hardaway. The Mavs also have some cap room to work with that Fournier could fit nicely into, with him commanding somewhere around the $15 million range per year.
While it’s unlikely Fournier ends up in Dallas, he could be someone Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd take a look at in the event Hardaway bolts.