Philadelphia 76ers: Can Furkan Korkmaz keep this going in the playoffs?

Philadelphia 76ers, Furkan Korkmaz (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Furkan Korkmaz (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Can the Philadelphia 76ers count on Furkan Korkmaz when every possession matters?

If I told you last year that the Philadelphia 76ers’ sixth man going into the  2019-20 playoffs would be Furkan Korkmaz, you would laugh in my face until you were out of breath. To be honest, I would probably have done the same thing.

The Turkish shooting guard started off as somewhat of a joke to Sixers fans. During his first season in red, white, and blue, back in the 2017-18 season, he only played in 14 games. In those games, he averaged almost six minutes a game, and in those six minutes, he shot 29 percent from the field, 29 percent from beyond, and scored barely 1.5 points per game.

His second season with the Sixers was definitely an improvement, but he still was relatively joked about. “Oh yeah, put Furky in. He’s the only one to save us,” people would joke when the team was down. Little did we know, he would be that guy many times the next season.

In November 2018, the Sixers declined his third-year team option for the 2019-20 season. After that, Korkmaz put in a trade request due to his unhappiness with the lack of minutes he was getting on the court. He wanted to venture out and see what other opportunities there would be for him as an unrestricted free agent. Eventually, Korkmaz and the Sixers came to an agreement and he was re-signed this past summer, to everyone’s surprise.

That may be the greatest move that Elton Brand and the Sixers have made in a while. They took a leap of faith on Korkmaz, and he took the opportunity in full stride.

Furky has averaged 22 minutes a game this season. In that time on the court, he has shot 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. The question that comes to mind when looking at his stats so far this season is: can he keep this up in the playoffs?

The Sixers are going to make the playoffs, there’s no doubt about it, even with the absence of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for the time being. Will the “bomber” be able to “make it rain” throughout a Sixers playoff run?

Korkmaz has had his ups and downs this season, but there have been a lot more ups than downs. When the Sixers needed someone to step up in games, due to injuries and whatnot, he leveled up and ran the court.

It seems like it’s second nature now for Korkmaz to knock down threes nightly. There’s no surprise that he’s hit some pretty clutch shots this season. Back at the beginning of the season, when the Sixers were still enjoyable, he hit a game-winner against the Portland Trail Blazers. In that game, he also helped the team climb back from a 21-point deficit. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more momentous shots by Furky in the playoffs.

Not only has his shooting been significantly better this season, but Korkmaz has developed a better defensive game to complement his offense. I no longer cringe when Furkan has to defend one of the better guys on the other team. He stays in front of his man and can work off the pick-and-roll pretty well. His confidence on the defensive end has greatly improved, which shows in his hustle to make a stop.

One day we will tell our kids and our grandkids about the man who wore the brightly colored shoes and won a dunk contest in a Darth Vader mask. Hopefully, one day we’ll get to tell them about how he led us to a championship and led us down Broad Street.

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Until then, we’ll just continue to watch him lead us into a playoff run.