This theme of this offseason for the Sixers has clearly been adding knockdown shooters to solve the spacing issue that was so evident last season. With all the hype surrounding guys like Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Isaiah Joe, Furkan Korkmaz has seemingly become the forgotten man in the Sixers rotation. The 22-year-old seemed unfazed by the lack of expectations and started off his interview as confident as ever.
Last season with the Sixers, Furkan averaged 9.8 points and shot 40.2% from beyond the three-point arc on 4.9 attempts per game. This 3-point percentage ranked 4th on the team last year, behind Shake Milton, Trey Burke, and Alec Burks, who all had a much smaller sample size.
Furkan Korkmaz was first drafted by the Sixers in 2016 with the 26th overall pick. After returning to Turkey for one more season, Furkie came over to the Sixers for the 2017-18 season. In the 3 seasons he has spent with his Sixers so far, the 6’7 shooter has seen his minutes per game climb from 5.7 to 14.1 all the way to 21.7 minutes last season. It was this past year that Furkan solidified himself as a solid rotational piece and provided a shooting pop off the bench that was greatly needed.
Competition for playing time will be much tougher this year as Furkan will be forced to compete with guys like Seth Curry, Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Tyrese Maxey for minutes. Furkan seems unbothered by this new challenge saying that it is the same obstacle every year it is just a new set of names he is in competition with. The change in coaching will also play a role in this as Doc Rivers will be the first coach outside of Brett Brown that Furkan has played under in the NBA.
Doc spoke extremely highly of Furkan in his press conference. In addition to his shooting, Rivers talked about what a high-IQ basketball player that Korkmaz is. Doc went as far as to say, “I think Furkan will be a very big piece of what we do this year.” Rivers also talked about the potential to use Furkan in dribble-handoffs with Embiid and allowing him to handle the ball more than has been seen so far in his career.
This was something Furkan talked about in his press conference as well. He mentioned that, despite his 6’7 frame, he spent time playing PG overseas so he has experience in this area. In addition to his shooting ability, Furkan talked about the work he has done in adding strength to his body and improved ball-handling ability as the main focus in what he worked to improve this offseason.
The belief from Doc in Furkan Korkmaz and his ability to play pick and roll and move effectively with and without the ball may help set him apart in the competition for minutes. The addition of shooters this offseason was extremely necessary and will have a major impact on the Sixers next season. However, Furkan should not be a forgotten man and he will exceed many expectations this year by playing a larger role than is being talked about. Just as he clearly knows, Furkan can shoot the basketball and he will be proving that to many this season once again.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire