Furkan Korkmaz has been one of the best “feel good” stories of the 2019-20 NBA season. Seemingly completely out of the Sixers plans following the conclusion of last season, Korkmaz was all set to return to his home country of Turkey to continue playing basketball. Elton Brand and the 76ers reached out at the last second and agreed to bring the European sharpshooter back.
At still just 21 years old, Korkmaz exploded onto the scene in his third official season of NBA play. Currently averaging 9.7 points per game on 39.7% shooting from three, he’s consistently been Brett Brown’s first choice coming off the bench.
However, with the NBA playoffs seemingly creeping ever nearer, the role which Korkmaz is going to be playing during that time is proving to be a bit murky.
Despite averaging close to 22 minutes of action a night during the regular season, Korkmaz could experience quite a serious drop in playing time during the postseason. His defense has been a problem all year long, and when it comes to a first-round matchup against Boston, that is something Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens would almost certainly look to expose.
The Sixers traded for veterans like Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks at the trade deadline, they have an elite defensive bench option in Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton was lighting the league on fire prior to its shutdown, and even Mike Scott played a pretty large role in the Sixers’ playoff run last year.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if all of the above mentioned players were ahead of Korkmaz in the rotation.
Korkmaz is arguably the best shooter on the Sixers roster, and he’ll likely see a good amount of playing time during the second and third quarters of games. If the opposition ever opts to try out a zone defense, Korkmaz will no doubt be on the court to break that.
However, when it comes to closing out games, or even early action in the first quarters, Korkmaz’s playing time will likely take a serious hit in the playoffs. His defense is simply too big of an issue when it comes to matching up against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker.
During my Sixers’ playoff rotation prediction, I had Korkmaz firmly planted in the 8-11 spot in the rotation: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/05/22/could-there-be-a-few-surprises-in-the-sixers-playoff-rotation/
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports