The Sixers sat over the summer with one available roster spot for a decent amount of time. And there was a ton of speculation and thoughts on what to do with said roster spot. But I will tell you one idea that wasn’t brought up at that time, bringing back Furkan Korkmaz.
Last season Furkan requested a trade, yea that’s a real thing, and not only did the 76ers not trade him, they declined his option. And Furkan went unsigned for the whole summer. Then the bomb dropped that the Sixers resigned Furkan. And none of it made sense.
Then preseason came along, and not mention names, but some fans noticed a little different Furkan than previous years. Seemed a little stronger, better passer, and tried harder on defense. All that was missing was the shot. Then the regular season came and right off the bat Brett has him playing real minutes. Because things are just never normal when it comes to the Sixers. And the first 3 games of the season were rough, even was benched at half time against the Pistons. Thought that was going to be the end of the Korkmaz experience.
But Brett was intent on growing a bomber, and to his credit he didn’t waiver and kept confidence in Furkan. And then Furkan had a coming out party of sorts against the Timber-wolves. His shot fell, he cut to the rim, played decent defense and dropped 17. All around solid game for him. But could he maintain.
Through 13 games I have been really impressed. His confidence has gone up, the shot seems smooth and he is making good decisions. His defense while better will always be a liability, and we that in OKC when he replaced Tobias in overtime. In fact OKC was his worse game after his 3 games to start the season. 3 points in 22 minutes and when he came in in OT the Thunder immediately went on an 8-0 run. But to take a positive off out of a negative, he bounced back strong against the Cavs the next game, going 5-8 and 1-3 from 3 for 13 points. Good to see a player be able to bounce back after a bad game, to me it shows great deal of confidence.
I went back and watched the T-wolves game and want to highlight some plays of his. You can watch more of Furkan and you will see the same stuff in different games.
This shot right here is a back breaker for teams in my opinion. The ability to catch and shoot the 3 off the break is such a great skill in this league and something the Sixers desperately need. Korkmaz is shooting 39% from 3 this year. That’s 8% up from last year and he is doing it on almost 2 more 3 point attempts per game. It’s clear the Sixers miss JJ on offense, and while Korkmaz isn’t JJ if he can continue to shoot at this rate he is going to continue to be a pleasant surprise.
So here is a little simple thing that Korkmaz can do on the floor to help. We as Sixers’ fans have talked endlessly about spacing. KAT is basically stuck in a bad place at this point. And honestly, in my opinion is in real bad position. He really only has 2 options he can fully commit to the double and leave Korkmaz open, or he should play up on Korkmaz and try to keep the ball out of his hands. But instead he kind of just looks lost. Look at Furkan’s hands after he passes the ball, they are right up in position ready to catch and shoot. Al has a mismatch and see’s that KAT is clueless on what to do, so he backs his man down. If KAT doubles Al, the pass goes out to Furkan for an open 3, or more than likely a pump fake as KAT runs out at him. The reason Al was able to exploit this mismatch is because of the threat of Furkan.
This is one of my favorite plays of his, except when he throws a behind the back bounce pass of course. It shows me he isn’t afraid to go to the net, and isn’t only reliant on his 3pt shot. He could easily have drifted to the corner; defenders back is already turned towards him and would have no chance to make up ground if the pass got to Furkan for 3. But he doesn’t settle for familiarity, he sees the open lane and attacks. Gets a nice feed from the Horford for the slam.
Furkan has been a real pleasant surprise so far this season giving some real quality minutes. One thing that goes unnoticed with him, is he is only 22. The NBA is a man’s league and he is just barely there. But he is getting there, and looking more and more confident as the season goes on. I am not 100% he can keep this up, it is so far a small sample size, but the fan in me wants to believe he can. As long as his shot continues to fall teams are going to have to know where he is at all times. And that’s exactly what this team needs.
So, keep ballin’ Furky from Turkey beef jerky and whatever else can rhyme with his name, keep shooting and keep doing your thing.
Oh yea, I can’t leave this play out.
10 9 8 76ers!
-@manoffrm on twitter