April 1st has come and gone, and unfortunately this whole “no sports” thing wasn’t just a big April Fool’s Day prank. The NBA season is still on hold at the moment, and no one is quite sure when/if basketball will be returning.
Despite the lack of televised basketball, us here at the PhillySportsNetwork are still doing our best to pump out Philadelphia sports-related content. Currently working through a series reviewing each member of the Sixers roster, there’s plenty to talk about.
We’ve already discussed, analyzed, and graded the starting five, now it’s time to turn our attention towards the bench. Starting first with the sharp-shooting sixth man: Furkan Korkmaz.
Furkan Korkmaz: 9.7PTS, 2.3REB, 1.1AST
Easily one of the most surprising players on the Sixers, Korkmaz has been an absolute breath of fresh air on an otherwise disappointing roster.
Entering into this past offseason, it really wasn’t expected that Korkmaz would even be on an NBA team. After struggling to find a legit role with Philly his first two years in the league (due to injuries and a lack of available minutes), Korkmaz had his option declined by the 76ers following the 2019 season.
Korkmaz entered the free agency pool, and attracted next to zero offers. With the new season approaching, Korkmaz was all set to return home to play for his old Turkish league team. After Elton Brand missed out on adding a veteran sharpshooter (*cough* Kyle Korver *cough*), the Sixers made a last second decision to bring the 22 year old shooter back.
Right from the get go, it was clear Brett brown planned on using Korkmaz this go around. Labeling him as the team’s “boombah”, Brown frequently drew up plays for the young guard.
Korkmaz took all these opportunities and absolutely ran with them. He hit a game-winning three against the Trail Blazers early in the season, scored 34 against the Grizzlies in February, and then scored 31 the very next day.
Now currently averaging a career high 21.8 minutes per game, Korkmaz has established himself as the team’s legit first option coming off the bench. He leads the teams in 3PM with 126, and has gotten progressively better at attacking the basket as the season’s gone on.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, Korkmaz is still an absolutely atrocious defender and provides next to nothing in terms of rebounding and playmaking. He picks up some really bad fouls and regularly gets picked on by more athletic players.
With more experience and coaching, these are issues the team hopes to see evaporate over time. However, considering how he’s shot the ball on a team desperate for floor spacing, don’t expect his minutes to go away anytime soon.
Korkmaz’ offense has been one of the most talked about Sixers storylines of the season. It’s honestly hard to imagine how the team would have fared this year without his above average three point ability.
As mentioned previously, his defense is arguably the worst on the team, so for that reason his grade has to come back down to earth just a bit. A solid B seems completely appropriate. Although, considering Korkmaz is still just 22 years young, the sky’s the limit for this kid.
Check out some of the other entries in our “Season in Review” series:
Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Joel Embiid
Mandatory Credit – © Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports