When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Furkan Korkmaz back in 2016, the hope was he would develop into a reliable deep-ball threat. Instead, Korkmaz has been something of a basketball Houdini, and not because he pulls remarkable wins out of a hat.
His disappearing acts are something truly special; Korkmaz has a strange ability to light up the box score one night, then find himself completely missing from the stat sheet the next. Korkmaz’s shot may never be truly consistent Stateside, but at least he has no problem scorching the hoop overseas.
While Korkmaz might have started in Turkey’s EuroBasket opener on Thursday against Montenegro, it was his end-of-game performance that had fans buzzing.
For starters, Korkmaz dropped a delicious go-ahead basket by driving hard to the lane and then hitting a one-footed fadeaway that would make Dirk Nowitzki smile.
The basket nudged Turkey ahead of Montenegro with 23 seconds left on the clock.
But Korkmaz wasn’t finished there. After Turkey retained possession with less than five seconds remaining, the Sixers star took a sweet pass from Cleveland’s Cedi Osman just over half court. Korkmaz didn’t even have time to get off a dribble before he pulled up for a buzzer-beater from just over midcourt to ice the game.
Korkmaz’s play was so effortless that Sixers Twitter couldn’t help but take notice.
“TURKISH SUPERSTAR, @FurkanKorkmaz!!🌟,” the Sixers tweeted.
Does Korkmaz Deserve More Time?
Last season, Korkmaz more often than not saw time with the bench unit, playing just over 21 minutes per game. In fact, that minutes per game figure was 10th-best on the Sixers last season, ahead of only Andre Drummond and Isaiah Joe among players with at least 45 appearances.
But if we take a look at Korkmaz’s total minutes played, we see a different story. While his per-game numbers are low, he played the seventh-most total minutes last season (1414).
It’s a clear indication of his streakiness and head coach Doc Rivers’ reluctance to play Korkmaz when the shot isn’t falling. Rather, the numbers suggest Rivers is more likely to keep Korkmaz in when he’s hot (i.e. feed the hot hand), but yank him quick if the Turkish veteran is cold.
Rivers and Korkmaz Have Discussed Shooting & Confidence
According to Rivers, there’s a direct relationship between Korkmaz’s poor shooting nights and a lack of confidence. It’s something the two discussed after a Sixers win over the New York Knicks last March.
“He’s just gotta play himself out of it,” Rivers explained to the media postgame. “There’s no secret to it. It goes in and out, right? I talked to him today about being a confident shooter. You have to be. You have to be willing to miss four or five in a row and believe the next one’s going in because I’ve put enough time and practice in to know that it’s gonna win. That’s what shooters do.”
If Korkmaz can carry over his success with Turkey to the Sixers, it could go a long way towards shoring up a bench unit that finished 27th in the league last season in scoring. While the additions of Danuel House and De’Anthony Melton should improve that figure as well, any internal help is also a boon.