By Josh Cohen
Oct. 22, 2017
ORLANDO — Is there a tandem in the NBA playing with better chemistry than Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier? Now in their fourth season together as teammates, this one-two punch tore defenses apart during the first week.
Through three games, Vucevic is 7-of-11 from the field when the pass before the shot attempt is delivered by Fournier, who vice versa is 5-of-11.
They have been particularly congruent in the pick-and-roll. Vooch is 5-of-6 when he sets a ball screen for Fournier and either rolls inside or pops out for a jumper. Fournier’s driving layup in the final moments in the season opener against the Heat came after Vucevic set a solid pick.
Another way they have been successful is with off-ball screens. Fournier is very good coming off pindown and staggered screens. Surprisingly, reversing those roles has actually benefitted the Magic. Vucevic is 4-of-4 this season when Fournier has set an off-ball screen for him.
Among all passer-to-shooter combinations with at least 11 shot attempts, Vucevic (shooter) and Fournier (passer) have the league’s third best effective field goal percentage (68.2 percent). Only Clint Capela (shooter) and James Harden (passer) and another Magic pairing, Vucevic (shooter) and D.J. Augustin (passer), have better EFGs.
Aside from both being red-hot from 3-point distance (15 made threes combined), both seem to be improved playmakers. They each have excellent vision and instincts and they play smart. They understand what this team has to do to be effective. That includes sharp cuts, proper spacing and crisp ball movement.
The Magic currently rank second in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game, 3-point percentage and assists. They also rank in the top half of the league in field goals made and offensive rebounding.
Here’s a look at some plays that highlight the outstanding chemistry between Vucevic and Fournier: