Furkan Korkmaz is an interesting player for the Philadelphia 76ers. The team almost gave up on the former 26th overall pick after his first two seasons until finally breaking out as a legitimate three-point threat over his third and fourth season (2019-2021).
During the 2019-2020 season, Korkmaz shot 40.2% from three while averaging 9.8 points per game. The following season, he shot 37.5% from deep and averaged 9.1 points per game. These excellent seasons, along with his incredible work ethic, earned Furk a shiny new contract: 3 years, $15 million.
Then, in his first year under his new contract, Furkan’s numbers plummeted. His three-point percentage fell into the grand canyon and stayed there, shooting only 28.9% from deep. He felt out of position more often than not, especially on the early Sixers team before the Harden trade.
Head Coach Doc Rivers often utilized Korkmaz as a point guard, which does not play to his strengths. He also revealed during media day on September 26th that last season he was struggling with nerve damage the second half of the season that caused numbness in his hand — he has since gone through rehab and is feeling better now.
This offseason, Furkan Korkmaz got to up his value, at least to the fans. He played incredible basketball in EuroBasket this season for his native Turkey, averaging 12.6 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game. Korkmaz hit game winners dropped buckets, and even got into a fight with players and police alike.
Korkmaz has shown everyone that he still carries that ‘Me vs. the World’ mentality from when he was fighting for his roster spot. He’s primed to come back with a vengeance this season, and not only because of his ability or mentality, but thanks to fitting the team better.
Furkan Korkmaz is at his best when he can find a groove on the second unit and not have to create his own shot. This was not how he was used last year, but hopefully, it is how he’ll be used in this upcoming season.
With the additions Philly has made this offseason (De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House, P.J. Tucker, Trez Harrell), along with returning pieces like a fully healthy Shake Milton and Paul Reed (who undoubtedly has a chip on his shoulder), Korkmaz won’t have to carry nearly as much weight on his shoulders.
He can step up into bigger roles when needed, shoot lights out from deep in a better-suited role, and continue to be one of the glue guys in a locker room that needs him. Furkan Korkmaz bridges the gap between the young players and the veterans, providing a lot for both groups, and with him now being healthy, Steph Turkey may make a return to form with this and improved Sixers squad.