What Can Furkan Aldemir Do This Season?


Furkan Aldemir is often, and probably will continue to be, overshadowed by the likes of his fellow sophomore and power forward, Nerlens Noel. This is quite unfortunate, because I feel like Aldemir has a lot that he could offer to the Sixers. Of course, Noel is going to get the starts and most of the minutes in the four spot (and rightfully so), but I truly believe that Aldemir could break out of his shell this year, and become a quality off-the-bench player to the Sixers, in relief for Noel.

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Last season, Aldemir wasn’t given many opportunities to show what he had. Even on a team that was reportedly tanking, the foreigner only played in about half of the Sixers’ games, and throughout those games only averaged about 13 minutes per game. Prior to even getting a spot on the Sixers, he was involved in a four team trade that sent him from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets, and then he was traded from Houston to the Sixers. Quite the rocky start for someone who was already doing some traveling, coming from a basketball league in Turkey.

Although Aldemir is seen as a rookie in the NBA, he has plenty of overseas experience in Turkey where he had lots of success for seven years. He made himself a key player there before deciding to pursue a career in the NBA.

I’ll be honest, the Sixers roster doesn’t compliment a need for Aldemir, as addressed earlier. It does, however, give him a stepping stone to a decent career. It’s unclear if he will be a longtime 76er or not right now, but for now, we are planning on having him around next season. Let’s take a look at what Aldemir’s skill set contains, and how the Sixers can use this to their advantage.

His past statistics should be thrown out of the window. All of them. Yes, even his years in the international leagues. He had good times there, averaging 7.8 points and nearly five rebounds per game, but not everything is the same in the NBA. Even in his first year, we saw him take a drastic change in his gameplay as he was introduced into American basketball.

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As CSN Philadelphia notes, this is Aldemir’s first true rookie season. Sure, he has spent an entire year in the league, but this is the first year that he hasn’t spent his offseason moving around from team to team and coming off of a draft. His location remained the same, and the CSN article notes that he has been working hard this offseason, working on things such as his three pointers.

We saw this in Summer League, and I’m hoping that it continues as he starts to see playing time in the NBA. Three pointers were previously a myth in relation to Aldemir, so it’s nice to see him hitting them in real game situations.

Last season Aldemir attempted a few three pointers, but was unable to sink any of them. Even in his time overseas, his forte was never three pointers. He was determined to make a change for the better in Summer League, and did just that.

We also saw that Aldemir is an incredible rebounder through the summer games. He goes back to the fundamentals, always following every shot. Even when he has to expand to guard a person shooting a three, Aldemir was often still the person crashing the boards and making himself a presence in the key.

Noticeably, most of these rebounds were on defense though, so it would be nice to see more of these come on offense.

Altogether in that game against the Celtics shown above, he had 14 rebounds, a great display of his nickname, “Mr. Rebound.”

His sample size from his NBA regular season career was tiny, and practically microscopic, as he attempted less than 100 shots, so I’ve opted not to look at his last season. I went back further to his days in Turkey to see what he excelled in there that he could bring to the NBA, despite it being a different type of play.

Immediately off the bat with Aldemir I noticed he was an established big man, always being physical, yet athletic, and working his way down the court with great speed. He uses this speed to his advantage, making himself a lane filler for fast breaks, a scary defender as he can jump in sync with anyone, and an all around balanced player.

No disrespect to the Golden State Warrior, but Aldemir reminds me of a more athletic Andrew Bogut. Bogut is a great player, but I was constantly frustrated during the playoffs with his athletic inability. He seemed to be lazy, hardly jumping to defend simple lay ups. Luckily, I’ve noticed excellence from Aldemir in this category.

While he showed his range this year at Summer League, his forte in Turkey was his paint dominance. On both ends of the floor, he was a presence in the key, there for alley-oops, blocks, rebounds, and anything else you’d expect from a big man in the NBA.

He’s absolutely not ready to be an NBA starter, and I’m not sure his career will ever lead him to be anything more than a supporting bench player, but he appears to be a bench player who could fit in multiple spots. Jahlil will be taking center, and Noel will be taking power forward. With the traits I’ve seen from Aldemir, I would be comfortable letting him back up either of these slots, which would certainly give him more minutes.

His paint dominance in Turkey shows he could play some center, and his recent look to expand has shown maybe he would excel better as a power forward. Why not both?

Look to see Aldemir making a bigger splash this season.

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