Popping the Kork: A Furkan Korkmaz Profile

Peter O.

Throughout this young season, the Philadelphia 76ers have dealt with a ridiculous amount of injuries, absences, and hardships, but despite all of that, they stand at 8-6, good for 6th place in the Eastern Conference. A big reason for that is the great play of their bench players, and one of the best of those is Furkan Korkmaz.

Korkmaz was a late first round pick in 2016, but despite his high draft stock, really struggled through his first two seasons after coming to the United States from Turkey. However, in his third and fourth seasons, he started to become a quality bench player whose specialty was the three-point shot, which the 76ers desperately needed at that time.

This season, with all of the absences, Korkmaz has been asked to step into a more high volume role. He has delivered with a career high in points per game, with 11.6, while also maintaining his efficiency by shooting around 40% from the field. He’s been taking more three-point shots than ever, has continued to space the floor, and make those shots at a very good level this season. 

It’s not just his shooting that has impressed. Korkmaz’s playmaking has also made a jump, which is crucial for a team missing their best table-setter in Ben Simmons. Korkmaz’s court vision and passing skills are much improved from previous years, and he’s averaging a career-high 2.8 assists, more than double his average last year. His defense has also made a leap. Previously, Korkmaz was considered somewhat of a defensive liability despite his 6’7” frame. So far, he’s provided solid defense both on and off the ball and has helped the Sixers to the 11th best defense (in terms of points given up per game). Korkmaz’s added skills have made him significantly more dangerous and may give the 76ers an added boost to push them through this difficult time.

(All stats provided courtesy of ESPN.com and are accurate as of 11/15/21)