This isn’t the Evan Fournier the New York Knicks were expecting when they signed him to a four-year, $73 million deal over the summer.
The veteran point guard has been in quite the slump over his last nine games, averaging just 8.2 points per game while shooting an abysmal 27.3% from three-point range.
Fournier posted just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in the Knicks’ 109-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The 29-year-old sat for the entire fourth quarter again — making it five of the last six games in which he’s sat for the entirety of the final 12 minutes.
Some of that frustration seeped through last week against the Orlando Magic as he wrestles with the fact that he doesn’t have the trust of his head coach, Tom Thibodeau, down the stretch.
“The way I look at it is this — I can’t just play anymore like I did with other teams knowing I’d play 32 minutes at least,” Fournier said (h/t Daily News). “I knew where my shots are coming from, I knew how things are going to go for me.
“So I can’t get into the game knowing that. …Historically I’ve been really good in fourth quarters actually. And now that I’m not playing fourth quarters, I have to bring something early on.
“I think the situation right now is I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play, so I have to have the mindset of if I’m going to play 20 minutes, then just come out the gate with extreme energy. Being very alert. Being ultra-aggressive. And trying to have an impact.”
That obviously hasn’t happened of late. In four games between Nov. 10-17, Fournier combined to score just 19 points — a number he equaled in a rare good showing on Saturday in a win against the Houston Rockets.
At this rate, Fournier won’t sniff the fourth quarter — Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks got over 25 minutes of playing time on Sunday — with his struggles directly coinciding with an 11-game stretch for the Knicks that has seen them go 4-7; eliminating any good feelings gained from a 5-1 start.