Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Joe overtaking Furkan Korkmaz in rotation

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers recent loss to the Toronto Raptors revealed several aspects about the team that needs to change and is changing. One, in particular, was that rookie Isaiah Joe played significantly more than veteran wing Furkan Korkmaz.

It’s weird to refer to Korkmaz as a veteran, but he is in his fourth season, yet, the former first round pick has appeared to lose his spot in the rotation. Not to just anyone, but the 49th pick of this past draft.

Joe played 12 minutes in the recent loss, which is 10 minutes than Korkmaz, who only saw playing time because of foul trouble. Joe was slowly making his way into the rotation prior to this game, but it wasn’t clear that he was going to replace Korkmaz until this game.

Why is Joe overtaking Korkmaz and what does it mean for the Philadelphia 76ers.

After the game, head coach Doc Rivers revealed why Joe played Korkmaz is out of the rotation. Below is a quote from Rivers via Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly.

"“‘He’s playing well…I thought defensively, he was absolutely fantastic, and that’s what we need. This is not football. You’ve got to be a basketball player and you play both ways, offense and defense. I thought he did that tonight.'”"

High praise for the rookie, while also pointing out the biggest flaw in Korkmaz’s game that fans have known for much of his tenure. The 76ers first round series against the Boston Celtics last year proved that but Rivers was fair enough to give Korkmaz a shot to begin the year, yet that same issue hasn’t gone away.

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On the flip side of the coin, despite Joe only weighing around, 165 lbs, the rookie is long and has shown a natural acumen for developing into a two-way player.

The other thing to consider is while Korkmaz does have a more diverse offensive game and can go off for a big scoring night on occasion, both wings are pretty competent 3-point shooters which is what Philly needs. Joe averages 12.8 minutes and 4.6 points on 37.3 percent shooting from the 3-point line, while Korkmaz averages 18.3 minutes and 6.9 points on 30.8 percent shooting from deep.

Korkmaz is having a very bad year overall, but this recent stretch of games has been abysomal. In the last six games, he’s averaged just 2.7 points and has gone a combined 1-16 from behind the arc. His bad play has earned him a place on the bench and Joe’s ability to play both ends of the floor might keep him there.

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Korkmaz is in real danger of not only losing his rotational spot for the season, barring injury or COVID-19 outbreak, but also his place in the Philadelphia 76ers’ long-term future. While this is bad for Korkmaz, Joe clearly deserves this opportunity to shine.