October 5, 2022

Evan Fournier sets Knicks’ single-season 3-point record in romp over Hornets

Fournier has adapted to his off-ball role. (Noah K. Murray/AP)

Evan Fournier made franchise history from long distance.

The Frenchman broke the Knicks record for 3-pointers in one season, knocking down his 218th in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 121-106 win over the Hornets. He surpassed John Starks, who held the mark for 27 years, and Fournier has nine more games to increase his number.

“It’s cool, especially for a franchise like the Knicks with such a big history and so many great players,” Fournier said. “It’s great. I didn’t really start the year thinking about any of that.”

Starks set his record in 1995, and it deserved an asterisk. That was the first season the NBA moved the 3-point line almost two feet closer at the top of the key. Starks pummeled Dan Majerle’s league record that season, and the line was moved back to its current dimensions in 1997.

“Congratulations, my man,” Starks, a Knicks employee in the community relations department, said in a Twitter post published just minutes after Fournier’s record. “Keep shooting it, alright.”

A couple weeks ago, Fournier surpassed No. 3 on the Knicks’ list, J.R. Smith, who hit 189 triples in 2014. Danilo Gallinari and Jamal Crawford round out the top 5.

Fournier was signed for his offense in the summer with a hefty price tag — four years, $78 million — and morphed into a 3-point specialist largely playing off the ball. Fournier has already attempted 99 more 3-pointers than his previous career high.

He entered Wednesday three short of the record and tied it by the second quarter. Then Fournier missed three potential record setters before nailing his fourth trey of the night with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter. Fournier finished with 12 points, fittingly all on 3-pointers.

For Fournier, it hasn’t been the playmaking role that was expected after signing such a big contract, but it’s also the best opportunity available when sharing a court with ball-dominant teammates Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

“Says more about the away I was able to adapt,” Fournier said. “When you look at the number of 3s I’ve taken this year, I’ve never played so much behind the 3-point line in my career. That’s probably why it took me a couple of months to figure it out, what was my role and how I was going to be able to impact winning and impact the team.

“I think it shows I’m able to adapt to any situation. Earlier in my career, I was much more of a driver. It’s actually good to be able to adapt, to add weapons to your arsenal, to try different things and experience different things. Depending on the system, on the players you’re playing with, you’re not going to be able to dictate how you play. There’s only a few guys that can do that, superstars.”

Fournier found a defined role and it led to breaking a 27-year record.

“When you look at shot profile, it’s very good,” Tom Thibodeau said. “For any off guard, it’s finding rhythm. Timing, spacing, rhythm for a shooter is critical. So, I think his teammates are looking for him more. He knows when it’s coming more. And I think it’s been good. There’s still work to be done where we can, I think, to take advantage of him even more.”