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Denver Nuggets' Evan Fournier Showing Off Team's Depth with Recent Play

DENVER, CO - APRIL 04:  Evan Fournier #94 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball against Darren Collison #4 of the Dallas Mavericks at the Pepsi Center on April 4, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 95-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Jon ReidCorrespondent IIApril 8, 2013

It's been an incredible post-All-Star game run for the Denver Nuggets.

The team is 20-3 since the February 17 All-Star showdown.

Even after losing their starting point guard (and arguably their best player) in Ty Lawson, the Nuggets have pushed forward, starting another mini-winning streak of four games after having their 15-game undefeated run snapped by losses to the New Orleans Hornets and a tough loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

It's fairly well known that the Nuggets will beat you with their widespread depth.

With Lawson, Danilo Gallinari (now out for the season with a torn ACL), Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee, Corey Brewer, Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller and Wilson Chandler all playing important roles in this team's success, Denver's depth is unparalleled.

Yet over the course of the past few games, another player has emerged and showcased his ability to contribute and help the Nuggets win ball games.

That person? Rookie guard Evan Fournier.

The 20-year-old French guard, who was drafted 20th overall by the Nuggets in the 2012 NBA entry draft, was used mainly as one of the last players off the bench up until recently.

In Denver's last four contests, however, Fournier has seen at least 19 minutes per game. And with good reason.

Fournier's play has been spectacular.

Helping fill the void left by Ty Lawson's injury, Fournier has hit at least 50 percent of his field goals in three of the four games in which he's seen increased minutes.

Fournier has averaged over 14 points in 21 minutes of play through those four games (though if you take out his one lackluster performance against the Dallas Mavericks, he's averaging nearly a point per minute).

When it comes to ball handling, the youngster has also excelled, turning the ball over just four times in his last four games. (He's played 84 minutes over those four contests.) Compare that to his steal total, which sits at eight, as well as his assist total, which comes in at 12, and you've got some very impressive numbers.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Fournier has been perfect from the free-throw line.

He's hit all 10 of his free throws since seeing more minutes per game, and that is crucial for a team like Denver, who sits 28th in free-throw percentage. (The team hits just 69.8 percent of their freebies.)

It may be a small sample size, but Evan Fournier's play since seeing his minutes spike has allowed the Nuggets to avoid missing a step without Ty Lawson or Danilo Gallinari in the lineup. His ability to drill free throws also gives Denver a reliable option when it comes to closing out games.

 

All statistics courtesy of cbssports.com

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