BASKETBALL

NBA players who have taken a step back so far this season


Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

2021-22 stats: 14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 55.4 TS%
2022-23 stats: 6.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 47.4 TS%

French swingman Evan Fournier has gone from every-game starter for the New York Knicks to bench player and now firmly out of the rotation, and it’s hard to fault head coach Tom Thibodeau for making that decision.

Fournier isn’t happy with being out of the rotation, mind you, though that is a reasonable feeling for any player (via Basket USA):

“I’m not happy but what can I do? I can’t do much really (shrugs)… So I stay professional, I do what I have to do, and I try to be ready, and that’s it. We stay patient.” … “When I say staying professional, it’s about doing what I have to do to stay ready. Of course, you have to be a good teammate, but just because I’m told I’m not in the rotation right now doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off, much eating, party… I try to be ready. You see, tomorrow the others are going to be “off”. I’m going to work out, I’m going to do cardio, I’m going to do my weight training. When I say professional, that’s it. Prepare myself in case the coach needs me.”

Fournier has been outright poor on the year, shooting 33.3 percent from three and 34.4 percent from the floor in general, without providing much of anything on the defensive end.

The Knicks were already worse with him on the floor last season, with Fournier boasting a -6.7 swing rating in 2021-22, but this year, that number is even uglier, with New York 8.4 points per 100 possessions worse when the veteran guard is in the game.

Fournier will likely get another shot in the Knicks’ rotation but right now, the numbers are looking straight-up ugly, and if he doesn’t turn things around, the $18.9 million New York owes him for next season will look like quite the albatross.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, Fournier isn’t the only player who has taken a step back this season.



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