Philadelphia 76ers: The emergence of Furkan Korkmaz

Furkan Korkmaz | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Furkan Korkmaz | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

We are witnessing with our very own eyes the emergence of Furkan Korkmaz, a player most thought would never develop into anything real for the Philadelphia 76ers.

It wasn’t long ago that Elton Brand signed Furkan Korkmaz to a two-year minimum deal in the summer, and we were all left puzzled by the decision. Fast forward eight months, and it may have been the Philadelphia 76ers‘ best signing so far.

Last year, Furkan Korkmaz demanded a trade due to a lack of playing time. This year, he has emerged as the Sixers’ best three-point shooter and a go-to guy when the Sixers need a bucket. Korkmaz is giving Sixers fan hope amid a turbulent season.

What exactly has changed for Korkmaz this year and what was he doing wrong last season?

For one, Korkmaz always had the tools to succeed. He showed glimpses of his crafty scoring in the Turkish league, where he even managed to win the Best Young Player award in the Champions League at the age of 16 — a league with adults. Unfortunately, his success and confidence overseas never translated to the NBA… at least, not in his first two seasons.

In the 2018-19 season, Korkmaz shot 32 percent from mid-range and 34 percent from three. Although he had some stand out games here and there, his lack of consistency on offense and lack of defensive effort resulted in minimal playing time for the 21-year-old. He only played 48 games and was buried deep in Brett’s rotation.

However, we have seen Furkan under a new light this season. Having played in all contests except one, Korkmaz has been an integral part of this Sixers team, giving them much needed scoring and spacing off the bench.

The most apparent difference from this year compared to last is Korkmaz’s improved three-point shooting. His shooting form hasn’t changed, however, he does seem to play with a lot more poise than before.

Korkmaz is shooting the three at a 39.2 percent clip on a team-high five attempts per game. He is also shooting 47 percent on corner threes — seven percent better than last year — which ranks him in the 79th percentile in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. The frequency of his shots taken off the catch are 50 percent, and he is also shooting 43 percent on catch-and-shoot threes.

He has also developed a very nice pump fake, which seems to boost his chances of hitting a shot by 95 percent. A nice sign of his increased confidence growing this year.

Apart from shooting threes, Korkmaz has also been much better from mid-range floater range  –he’s probably the only Sixer with a floater. He has also been substantially better on defense, at least upon the eye test. There are still times where he falls asleep and leaves his guy open, but more often than not, he does give effort on that end.

Probably the biggest issue Korkmaz has had this year is his inconsistencies on the road.

  • HOME — 47.8 FG% | 45.2 3P%
  • AWAY — 40 FG% | 33.1 3P%

When Korkmaz steps out of the Wells Fargo Center, he resembles the Korkmaz of yesteryear, who everyone wanted out. But to be fair, the whole team has been abysmal on the road this year and that can be a factor.

A factor helping Korkmaz be so good this year is the synergy he has developed with Ben Simmons. Simmons just seems to know where Korkmaz is at all times. Korkmaz has been assisted by Simmons 56 times already. The pick-and-pop action they have going on has also been a nice way to catch teams off guard.

Overall, the Korkmaz redemption story is shaping up quite nicely. From secret spy destined to destroy the Sixers’ chances of winning, to a fan favorite where the crowd screams every time he’s about to shoot a three.

Next. How to properly utilize Horford. dark

Let’s hope Korkmaz can keep up this pace, fix his road struggles, and be that valuable shooting piece the Sixers so desperately need in the playoffs.