The Boston Celtics are clinging to an Eastern Conference playoff spot right now and could finish anywhere from No. 4 to out of the playoffs based on the results of the season's final stretch run. Sensing they needed more to do meaningful things, they traded for Evan Fournier at the deadline, hoping the veteran guard could provide another scoring option to bolster a strong core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker.
Early returns aren't spectacular as Fournier set ignominious NBA history last night against the New Orleans Pelicans, misfiring on all 10 of his field-goal attempts and failing to tally a point in 33 minutes.
Despite the undeniably awful debut, no one associated with the loss seemed concerned about Fournier's ability to contribute.
“I just walked by his locker and said, ‘this will just be a small blip on your time here,'” coach Brad Stevens said after the game. "He flew to Oklahoma City, got off the plane, was told he was positive then had to take a bunch of negative tests in a row. It’s been a tougher than normal trade for him. I know that he’s not going to make that excuse, but I got no doubt that Evan Fournier is going to score a lot of buckets for the Celtics. Very much a blip, not worried about it."
“It’s difficult coming to a new team, trying to play well, trying to remember all the new plays and the system," Walker said of his new backcourt partner. "It’s not easy. At the end of the day, come on now, we all know how good Evan is. He’s gonna be great for us. He had great looks, shots that we all know he can make. … He’s just adjusting. He can definitely knock those shots down. Just give him some encouragement, and just let him know not to think too much, just play the game. We believe in him. He’s gonna be great for us.”
These quotes are exactly what a person could expect to hear because what type of coach or teammate is going to bury a dude for one bad outing, especially his first? But it does beg the question: how bad would a player need to be in their first foray in a new uniform for that team to expresses public doubts about the move?
Oh-for-10 is obviously not enough but say Fournier had jacked up 29 shots and missed all of them. Would the Celtics pass it off as an unconcerning blip then? Maybe one day we'll all be lucky enough to observe such a scenario from afar.
Fournier simply cannot continue to be this bad unless he was recently visited by the Monstars. There's real reason to believe he can improve on his Magic production by the simple virtue of having a weaker defender shadowing him as he'll be Boston's third- or fourth-scorer. You know, when he starts scoring.