Philadelphia 76ers: With volume comes success for Furkan Korkmaz

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Does Furkan Korkmaz have what it takes to be the Philadelphia 76ers’ sharpshooting sixth man? His 2019-20 stats provide a very interesting answer.

Furkan Korkmaz is a shooting guard.

Sure, he can do more than that, as Furky averages a pair of rebounds a game, and can dunk – with or without a Darth Vader mask on – but barring some massive modifications to his game, Korkmaz’s career will be defined by his ability to shoot the ball from range.

And in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 100-89 win over the Chicago Bulls, fans in the 215 were greeted with a glimpse of the still-only-22-year-old’s best-case scenario as a pro.

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Playing 27 minutes as the team’s first guard off the bench, Korkmaz exploded for a career-high 24 points on 6-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Facing off against a Bulls squad with a slew of intriguing yet stylistically diverse backcourtsmen, Korkmaz found the basket early and often, and quite literally dominated the third quarter for 14 of his points in five and a half minutes of action.

If the Sixers got that sort of production night after night off the bench, they likely wouldn’t need to be in the market for another scorer, allowing Elton Brand to shift his attention to (slightly) less pressing issues like a top-tier backup point guard, or a more appropriate third-string center behind Joel Embiid, but therein lies the issue: Korkmaz just isn’t consistent.

Or is he? I mean think about it, Trey Burke leads the Sixers in 3 point shooting percentage and he’s once again been benched for the more passive Raul Neto – sometimes Brett Brown makes decisions that are… hard to understand.

So, what’s the deal? Is Korkmaz a volume shooter who can deliver the goods with more opportunities, or is he just another hot and cold wing who can hit six 3s one game, and go 0-6 the next.

Numerically speaking, it’s a little bit of both.

On the season, Korkmaz has played 20 or more minutes 22 times for an average of 25.3 minutes per game. In those games, Korkmaz has averaged 11.318 points or roughly .447 points per minute – .031 more points a minute when compared to his season averages (8.5 points in 20.4 minutes). Now that may not seem like a lot, but over 25 minutes, it’s not nothing.

Furthermore, in games where Korkmaz averages more than 20 minutes of action, he’s taking an average of 5.4 3 pointers a night, a full 1.1 more than his season average. While this may not seem like a huge deal, when good players take more 3s, they tend to make more 3s, and in games where Korkmaz plays more than 20 minutes Korkmaz is knocking down an average of 2.36 of his attempts a game – good for a 43.7 completion percentage.

Just for context, no one on the Sixers averages more than 1.7 made 3s a game, and only one player, Burke, knocks down his outside shots at a higher clip.

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So, all things considered, can Furkan Korkmaz be the Philadelphia 76ers’ sixth man? I guess that depends on what the team wants in a sixth man. If Brett Brown’s looking for a do-it-all playmaker who can make shots for himself and others, then yeah, number 30 probably isn’t the man for the job. However, as evidenced by half a season’s worth of production, Furky has performed above his season average when given enough volume to get into a groove – he just, ya know, needs to be given that opportunity with regularity to truly become a deadly bench sharpshooter.