Philadelphia 76ers: Give Furkan Korkmaz more time in starting five

Furkan Korkmaz | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Furkan Korkmaz | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers need to stand by Furkan Korkmaz.

This season has proven nothing short of a renaissance for Furkan Korkmaz. The 22-year-old has gone from bench warmer to, as of last Tuesday, starter. The Philadelphia 76ers‘ decision to move Al Horford to the bench came as a mild surprise, though many expected it. Korkmaz was given the starting nod. Brett Brown should extend that opportunity full-time.

At this stage, it’s abundantly clear Horford should remain in a sixth man role. The more time the starting five can play without Horford, the better. The more time Horford can play without the Joel EmbiidBen Simmons duo, the better.

Brett Brown starting Korkmaz in Horford’s place was unsurprising. Brown has shown a tremendous level of trust in Korkmaz all season, even when the fanbase disparaged him for it. Korkmaz is the best shooter on the team, and the Sixers have a particular need for shooting.

More from Sixers News

That said, the early returns were negative. Korkmaz hobbled to the finish line in his first start (over Horford), tallying zero points on 0-for-5 shooting. He spent 23 minutes on the floor, and was moved to the bench to start the second half in favor of Glenn Robinson III.

Korkmaz’s struggles opened up a new debate — who should hold the title of fifth starter in lieu of Horford. To me, the answer is Korkmaz.

Too often in sports, we are subject to reactionary takes. Even action garners a reaction, even if it doesn’t always deserve one. Korkmaz was awful, sure, but in the two games prior, he scored over 30 points. Why should his zero-point game carry more weight than his 30-point games?

Korkmaz has effectively started games this season. This one was different, as Horford and the other starters were healthy, but there is evidence to support Korkmaz’s capacity for success next to other starters. One bum game before the All-Star break shouldn’t mark the end of his opportunity.

There is immense value in Korkmaz’s shooting. He has recently moved even closer to the J.J. Redick role — DHOs, two-man actions, curling around screens. The Sixers need someone to do what Korkmaz does. To throw defenders into chaos around Embiid and Simmons.

As long as Korkmaz avoids an extended cold streak, his offensive value trumps his unavoidable defensive shortcomings. In fact, the starting five is the lineup best equipped to hide Korkmaz’s poor defense. Simmons and Josh Richardson can lock down the perimeter, while Embiid provides a safety net at the rim.

Next. Sixers' notable matchups for rest of season. dark

There is no better lineup to benefit from Korkmaz’s strengths and minimize his weaknesses. All signs point to Korkmaz’s breakout season being of the legitimate variety. He’s a real player, and he’s well-suited to the starting five. Let’s not write him off after one bad game.