Philadelphia 76ers: Furkan Korkmaz, I’m sorry for doubting you

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After two straight solid performances – and a game-sealing 3 in Portland – maybe the Philadelphia 76ers were right to prioritize playing Furkan Korkmaz.

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Furkan Korkmaz, I’m sorry for doubting you.

I’m sorry for saying the Philadelphia 76ers shouldn’t play you over Shake Milton, and I’m sorry for questioning why the team re-signed you in the first place.

But why, you may be asking, would I dedicate so much digital real estate to apologizing to Korkmaz? Easy, he’s been instrumental to the Sixers remaining undefeated over the last two games.

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That’s right, after averaging 1.6 points per game on a 16 outside shooting percentage over the first three contests of the season, Korkmaz has become the 76ers’ most consistent bench scorer over their last two contests – bumping up his averages to 14 points in 21 minutes of action a night.

Oh yeah, and he’s knocking down 42.8 percent of his seven 3 point attempts a game.

Measuring in at an official 6-foot-7, 190 pounds, Korkmaz is an intriguing offensive weapon in the backcourt, especially when his scoring is on from all three levels. With the height to shoot over guards and the speed to get past forwards, Korkmaz, in theory, could be the perfect scoring sixth man to pair with Matisse Thybulle coming off the bench and give Brett Brown some instant offense – he just hasn’t shown the consistency to be that player night after night.

Maybe these last two games are a positive sign of things to come?

With Thybulle replacing Joel Embiid in the starting five, and Milton on the mend following an Atlanta ankle injury, Korkmaz has been flying with no safety net if you will. While some may fret over this expanded role, Furky has actually looked relieved knowing that he isn’t going to get benched for amassing two quick fouls, or for missing a few shots.

This comfort has turned into confidence, which has, in turn, lead to improved play on the court.

Because of his hot hand, Korkmaz actually supplanted Thybulle in the Sixers’ second half starting and closing lineups against the super-(under)sized Portland Trail Blazers. While Korkmaz doesn’t have the defensive acumen of Thybulle, his ability to impact the game both as a scorer and as a ballhawk left Brown confident enough in his abilities to stick on the court down as much as 21 points.

Brown was so confident in Korkmaz’s shot that he called his number with 2.2 seconds left in regulation down by two. While we may never know if Korkmaz was the number one option on Ben Simmons‘ inbounds pass, or if Tobias Harris being all tied up in the paint led to the call, but Furky drained the shot of his life with the game on the line – stealing a road win to keep his squad undefeated.

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Now again, a two-game sample size is nothing in the NBA – as evidenced by the 22-year-old’s first three games – but for a young mid-first round pick who has never quite settled into a consistent role in the NBA, this confidence boost could be huge for Furkan Korkmaz’s development as a pro, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2019-20 bench scoring output. Five games into the season, it looks like Brett Brown has ‘bloomed his bomber‘ (if you will), and I’m sorry for doubting that.