Sixers: 3 position battles to watch in preseason

Shake Milton, Paul Reed, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Shake Milton, Paul Reed, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers preseason position battle — Furkan Korkmaz vs. Isaiah Joe

The odds favor neither Furkan Korkmaz nor Isaiah Joe getting much playing time next season. This is the deepest team of the Embiid era and there is too much proven talent ahead of them. Joe has accomplished very little at the NBA level and Korkmaz was downright terrible last season.

That said, both occupy a similar archetypal vein on the roster. It will be interesting to see who emerges from the preseason with more stock to his name: Korkmaz, the veteran who Doc trusted once upon a time, or the young-but-promising Joe entering the final year of his rookie contract.

My early bet is on Korkmaz. At media day, he mentioned nerve damage in his shooting hand that would account for his sudden and inexplicable shooting woes after the All-Star break last season. Korkmaz has been a reliable 3-point shooter his entire career, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him to return to form now that he’s healthy.

Rivers has always prioritized experience and comfort level within the offense. Korkmaz has established chemistry with Embiid and Harden — Joe has not. Korkmaz also provides a bit more diversity of skill on offense: he ran backup point guard for a stretch last season and was quite successful.

That said, it’s past time to see what Joe can offer in extended minutes. If the Sixers don’t use Joe this season, he will enter restricted free agency with very little to his name. That could make it difficult for the Sixers to justify bringing him back, and one has to think Joe’s next team would use him more frequently.

Joe is more than good enough to challenge Korkmaz behind the 3-point line. No long ago, Joe was averaging over 10 attempts per game at Arkansas. He can hit shots from every angle, whether it’s standstill on the wing or flying around a screen Redick-style. He’s also a much better defender than Korkmaz, which has to be a factor when projecting toward the playoffs.

Whoever wins this battle could merge into the previous battle. Thybulle, Milton, Joe, Korkmaz — these guys are all fighting for the same minutes.