Should Furkan Korkmaz Make The Trip Overseas Next Year?

Apr 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of the Wells Fargo Center before game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of the Wells Fargo Center before game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Last year the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Furkan Korkmaz with the 24th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. Is this the year Korkmaz joins the Sixers young roster?

The Turkey native Furkan Korkmaz was high on many draft boards last year, but fell due to the fact he wouldn’t make an immediate impact. At 26th overall, Korkmaz was regarded by many as a steal due to his 3-point shooting and age. But with a huge offseason ahead, does Korkmaz join the Philadelphia 76ers next year?

First, we should talk about why Korkmaz didn’t make the trip over after being drafted last year. When Furkan was drafted last year he was only 18 years old, and although he had a gifted shot, he had a small frame which would make it hard for him to defend at the NBA level. Many teams knew if they drafted him he was likely to play at least one year overseas to hopefully add to his frame. Also, while Korkmaz did negotiate an NBA buyout clause into his contract, it was a total of $2 million and the Sixers were only contribute $650,000.

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Furkan Korkmaz will return from a loan from Banvit to Anadolu Efes (notably Dario Saric‘s former team) during the summer. He might not stay for long, Korkmaz has the opportunity to opt out of his Efes deal if he wants. The Sixers are heading into what may be the most important offseason in franchise history. Colangelo has all the cards right now and is in a position that many general managers dream of.

Colangelo has two franchise cornerstones in Embiid and Simmons, a plethora of incoming early draft picks and an insane amount of cap space. So is adding Korkmaz this summer something Colangelo should even consider? Yes.

The Sixers appear to have four starting lineup locks as of today. Embiid at center, Dario at power forward, Covington at small forward and Simmons at point guard. That leaves a spot open at the 2. I would be shocked if the the Sixers didn’t pick up Henderson’s contract option. So barring drafting a shooting guard, Furkan would only have to compete with Stauskas and TLC. Although they played in different leagues lets see how the three matched up this year:

Furkan Korkmaz3519.57.17.442.4201.74.948.49
Nik Stauskas8027.37.91.397.3682.35.579.45
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot6917.25.22.403.3111.07.456.45

To me, the most important part of the table is the field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, both are miles ahead of Stauskas and TLC. Don’t get me wrong, the NBA and Turkish league are completely different levels of basketball, but remember, Korkmaz is doing this as the youngest player on the court 95 percent of the time.

Also, the 3-point line in FIBA (22 feet, 2 inches) is closer to the NBA’s (23 feet 9 inches) than the NCAA’s (20 feet 9 inches), meaning he will have an easier transition to NBA basketball than a college prospect would.

Dario Saric and Furkan Korkmaz were teammates for Anadolu Efes. While we don’t know the extent of that relationship, Colangelo was very open after the draft saying Dario had nothing but good things to say about him as a teammate. Dario was 22 years old when he made his NBA debut and was already built to compete with NBA talent. But power forward and shooting guard require two different builds, and Furkan could make the transition to NBA a little earlier than Dario did, especially if his shooting efficiency doesn’t falter.

There is only one scenario that I see the Sixers keeping Korkmaz in the Turkish League, and that is if they draft a shooting guard like Malik Monk. With Monk in the lineup, Korkmaz’s shooting isn’t as high in demand. It would make sense for him to stay there where he won’t have to compete for minutes and he could continue to develop. I personally would prefer and think it is more likely the Sixers use their draft pick on a point guard such as Monk, Ball or Smith, or maybe even a wing like Jackson or Tatum.

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If I had to give Colangelo just one reason why Korkmaz needs to be on the opening night roster it would go like this: BEN SIMMONS NEEDS 3-POINT SHOOTERS!

Although the Sixers probably thought Simmons would have a year of NBA experience under his belt and maybe a Rookie of the Award going into this upcoming season, they need to make his arrival as smooth as possible. If the offense is going to run through Ben Simmons at the point, surrounding this rookie with shooters is essential.

Don’t let Furkan’s assist numbers scare you, he had a limited role with Banvit and Anadolu Efes. He was never the primary ball handler, and if he comes to the Sixers next year, he should take on a similar role. His quick and effective 3-point shot are what a player like Simmons and Embiid need. They can draw a double team and kick the ball out to Korkmaz who could make a living drilling 3 point shots like he has done at every level of his career.

If and when Korkmaz comes over to join the Sixers, we shouldn’t expect him to steal the starting job immediately. That said, if given time to adjust to the NBA, he could be given a majority of the minutes at shooting guard next season, unless, of course, the Sixers add a veteran free agent. Korkmaz will be 20 years old at the start of next season and may have been considered a lottery pick in this stacked draft if he were to have entered the draft this year instead. His catch and shoot ability fit perfectly into what you are looking for in the NBA today.

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With two top five picks potentially joining the team and Simmons and Embiid returning from injury, Furkan will certainly not be the flashiest addition next year. But he could definitely make an impact, and could be the 3-point threat the Sixers need. Although young, Furkan should continue his development in the States with the Sixers’ young core. This offseason will have plenty of additions, but Colangelo should assure there is a spot on the roster for Furkan Korkmaz.