Philadelphia 76ers: Furkan Korkmaz is Brett Brown’s new Manu Ginóbili

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

If Furkan Korkmaz continues to average 14 points a game for the Philadelphia 76ers, Brett Brown may have found his best sixth man since Manu Ginóbili.

When the Philadelphia 76ers took the court against the Chicago Bulls on Oscar Sunday, it was a borderline must-watch affair.

No, not because the game held any particular weight in regards to the playoff hunt, no more than any other game against an Eastern Conference rival, I suppose, but because it would potentially give fans a glimpse of how Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson fit in Brett Brown‘s system.

Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen, thanks in no small part to Furkan Korkmaz.

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One game removed from putting up a career-high 35 points on 7-9 from beyond the arc, Korkmaz turned in another 30-plus point performance while earning starter minutes coming off the bench.

Just for context, Shake Milton only played 13 minutes in his seventh straight start in place of Josh Richardson, whereas Korkmaz turned in 31 as the team’s first guard coming off the bench.

While the Korkmaz-aissance has been among the most surprisingly pleasant developments of an otherwise underwhelming season, it’s worth noting just how impressive Furky has been since receiving a minutes bump midway through January.

Over the last 14 games, Korkmaz has averaged 14.28 points per game in a little over 24 minutes of action a night – more than every player not named Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or Tobias Harris over said tenure. Korkmaz is also knocking down 43.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc on 7.2 attempts a game, including a franchise-tying seven made 3s against the Memphis Grizzlies in their lone trip to the Wells Fargo Center this season.

Process-member GRIII had 10 points in 12 minutes after five years away from the team and that was a mere footnote thanks to Korkmaz.

Is this sustainable? 30 points a night? No way, but 14 points a game? That’s a different story. Because Horford has been mostly utilized for his, shall we say, intangibles, having a second unit scorer who can float around for 24 minutes a night and score in double-digits would be a major boon for the Sixers, even if Robinson and Burks project as eventual contributors coming off the bench.

Gosh, Brown hasn’t had a sixth man like that since… gosh, Manu Ginóbili in 2012-13.

Now before you @ me, I’m not saying Korkmaz is as, or will ever be as good as Ginóbili, as the Euro step early adopter is a borderline lock to make the Hall of Fame, but they could be utilized in a similar way coming off Brown’s bench. Despite being 34 during Brown’s final season in San Antonio, Ginóbili still finished third on the team in points per game and gave Greg Popovich a reliable shot coming off the bench. Gone was at least somehow his athleticism, but in its place was a capable driver, who could pass out of bad situations, and be counted on to make smart shots on the wings.

While Korkmaz still needs some work as a passer, his shot selection, and willingness to drive in for a quick two at the rim has added depth to his game and made the still-only-22-year-old shooting guard a much harder player to guard.

As crazy as it may have sounded a month ago, once Richardson returns to full strength, and Burks takes over his current role as the second unit’s primary ball-handler, Korkmaz’s role should remain largely unchanged; for a team desperate for shooting, Korkmaz has become the Sixers’ fifth-most important player.

Will he have an occasional off day? Sure, we all do, even your friendly neighborhood sportswriters, but that’s why Elton Brand traded for GRIII and Burks, to bolster the bench.

Next. Keep an eye on Brad Wanamaker. dark

When the Philadelphia 76ers signed Furkan Korkmaz to a two-year, veteran minimum deal 27 days into free agency back in July, it hardly turned a head in the 215. But after watching shooter after shooter leave the team for greener pastures, Furky took his new role and, um, rolled with it, becoming a borderline essential to any sort of playoff push Brett Brown and company will pull off down the stretch. And hey, Argentina and Turkey are pretty, pretty, pretty close to one another, maybe there’s something in the wauter, if you will.