Philadelphia 76ers renew investment in Furkan Korkmaz’s ceiling

Furkan Korkmaz: Still with the Philadelphia 76ers.

There was once a time when Furkan Korkmaz was dropping 40 on the Celtics’ Summer League team. And another when he requested a trade, citing a lack of opportunity after severely underwhelming play. And another when he signed with Fenerbache in Europe.

Or so we thought.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers have re-signed Furkan Korkmaz to a two-year minimum contract. The second season is non-guaranteed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.

This is quite the move, and a very Sixersy way to end the summer. Philadelphia still has one roster spot available — Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lin and J.R. Smith are among the names worth monitoring — but Korkmaz comes as a surprise.

Most expected Korkmaz to move on from the NBA. He struggled to find playing time last season, quickly falling behind James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons (!) in the rotation. He’s billed as a sharpshooter, but is a career 32.6 percent 3-point marksman. Not the most promising number.

Korkmaz will ride the bench next season. Barring unforeseen growth and prosperity, he shouldn’t sniff minutes ahead of Ennis, Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle in the second unit. At the most, Korkmaz provides the threat of a shooter to a team lacking in that department.

Given the Sixers’ title aspirations, cheap, young depth is important. Korkmaz is a former first-round pick, but there’s a reason Philadelphia declined his option last season. He didn’t show enough afterward to spark regret over the decision.

To date, Korkmaz hasn’t shown the shooting touch that got him drafted 26th overall. He’s also too thin to consistently defend NBA wings, another nail in the proverbial coffin of NBA utility. Unless Korkmaz comes into his own as a shooter, gets quicker and bulks up, he’s going to have a tough time earning his spot next season.

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It’s tough to say the Sixers made a mistake. He’s a 22-year-old on a minimum contract in the 14th roster spot. It could be worse. But taking everything into account, Korkmaz’s return is an odd and uninspiring one.