Furkan Korkmaz makes a statement in Sixers win over Heat

Furkan Korkmaz of Philadelphia 76ers dunks against Dallas Mavericks during the Shenzhen match of the NBA China Games in Shenzhen city, south China’s Guangdong province, 8 October 2018. Mavericks beat 76ers 115-112 at Shenzhen match of NBA China Games. (Imaginechina via AP Images)

When the Sixers picked up their options on the rookie contracts of Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Dario Saric, they opted not to do so with the Furkan Korkmaz.  Korkmaz, drafted 26th overall in the 2016 draft, has not played a role in the team’s first season and a half, and this move made it clear they did not consider him a part of the team’s future.

Korkmaz responded to this saying that he felt that he could contribute to the team; he just needed to be given the chance to do so.  To this point, rookie Landry Shamet, who shares many traits with Korkmaz, has gotten a bulk of the minutes between the two.  The past two games, with Robert Covington and Dario Saric gone, Korkmaz has been given minutes to prove his value to the team.  And on Monday night, he made the most of the opportunity.

On Saturday, Kormaz played okay in Memphis, scoring 12 points in 23 minutes and shooting 3-7 from beyond the arch.  The Turkey native added two steals and his effort on the defensive end dismissed the notion that Korkmaz was unplayable because of his defense.

Last night in Miami, Korkmaz shined.  The 21-year old scored a career high 16 points on 5-9 shooting and 3-6 on three pointers.  Korkmaz’s offensive highlight of the night was his first career four-point play that came late in the second-quarter.  He made a significant impact on the defensive end as well, guarding Miami’s Josh Richardson well and even coming up with a steal late mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Korkmaz was rewarded for his tough play on both sides of the ball with crunch-time minutes that left Markelle Fultz and Landry Shamet on the bench.  With two starters in Covington and Saric gone and only one joining the team in Butler, there will be minutes up for grabs throughout the game.  Korkmaz’s strong showing makes him a probable candidate to claim these minutes.

Many fans have been clamoring for Korkmaz to be traded in a deal for sharpshooter and former 76er Kyle Korver from Cleveland.  However, the effort on the court from Korkmaz has showed that he just may be the piece the Sixers need.