Despite appearing to be a solid player at times, Furkan Korkmaz is consistently proving to be a liability for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Entering the 2019-20 NBA season, Elton Brand and the rest of the Sixers front office had quite a daunting task on their hands, replacing JJ Redick. For two straight seasons, Redick was one of the 76ers best offensive players. He averaged 17-plus minutes and shot just over 40% from three. His contributions were one of the major reasons the team made the playoffs each year.
Redick took a rightfully earned payday in New Orleans this past offseason ($26.5mil/2 years), and Philly was forced to desperately search for someone to fill that role. They decided against taking a natural shooter in the draft, missed out on some of the better free-agent three-point threats (Kyle Korver), and ultimately decided on turning towards a familiar face.
Despite declining their team option over Korkmaz at the start of the offseason, the 76ers called up the third-year wing player as the summer came to a conclusion. After two seasons of barely seeing the court, many fans expected Korkmaz to simply return to a role at the back of the bench.
This is where the “Furkan Korkmaz Experiment” began. As the new season kicked off it was clear head coach Brett Brown intended to use Korkmaz in a far more aggressive manner. Through 20 games, Korkmaz has averaged a career-high 23 minutes per game while also averaging a career-high 7.6 shot attempts. Korkmaz has also started in eight games.
Fans and reporters alike quickly took notice of the surprising new role the Turkish guard had been given. When Brett Brown was asked about the topic he responded saying, “I need to grow a bomber…They can come in and ‘bam, bam, bam’ and make a three. And why not Furk?”
Brown had made his intentions clear. He was trying to develop Korkmaz into the next JJ Redick.
Early on, it all appeared to be working. Korkmaz scored a career-high 20 points against the Phoenix Suns and hit an incredibly tough game-winning buzzer-beater three at Portland.
However, as the season progressed and the sample size for Furkan has grown larger and larger, the stats have begun to tell a completely different story. Out of twelve 76ers who actively see rotational minutes, Korkmaz currently ranks:
- 7th in 3P%
- 8th in FG%
- 4th worst TOV%
- 12th in AST%
For a player whose main purpose is to effectively shoot and score the basketball, he’s doing a far below average job at it when compared to his teammates. This all comes with Korkmaz ranking 6th in both usage rate and field goal attempts. He’s actively taking away shots and minutes from better players.
On top of all this, what has become overwhelmingly clear to anyone who watches Sixers basketball is that Korkmaz is a huge liability on defense. Again, out of twelve 76ers who actively see rotational minutes, Korkmaz currently ranks:
- 11th in defensive +/- (-1.7)
- 12th in REB%
- 12th in STL%
The 76ers regularly sacrificed defensive capabilities last season when JJ Redick was on the court, but it was justified due to his insane level of offensive production. Korkmaz is neither producing on offense or defense, leading me to the conclusion that his time as a top option off the bench must come to an end.
James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle are both currently playing some seriously good basketball. Cutting Korkmaz’s minutes in half and spreading them out amongst those two would seriously help the team. Plus, with how deep the 76ers farm system is at the moment, pulling off a trade for a proper three-point “bomber” to replace Korkmaz would be another easy solution (see my article on potential trade targets: here).
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports