By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer
Through the opening eight games this season, there are a good amount of takeaways for this new look Philadelphia 76ers team. One takeaway nobody expected was the play of Furkan Korkmaz, who looks like he is ready to be a part of an NBA rotation on a nightly basis.
After an impressive run this summer for the Turkish national team in the World Cup, Korkmaz looks like he has come into this season with newfound confidence. In his third season, he is posting career highs in both scoring and shooting. Three-point shooting has been looked at as a weak point for this team, but Korkmaz has been playing like he can be the floor spacer that the Sixers will need moving forward.
So far this season, Korkmaz is averaging 8.9 points per game on 46.0% shooting from the floor and 47.1% from deep. He has scored in double figures in four of the team’s first eight games. He scored a career-high 20 points in Philadelphia's 114-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.
Korkmaz also played hero for the 76ers in their thrilling win against the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this season when he knocked down a game-winning three from the corner in the final seconds of the game.
If Korkmaz can sustain his shooting throughout the year, he is going to be a valuable piece for Philadelphia as they make a run to compete for a championship this season. The team needs someone who can come in off the bench and space the floor, and Korkmaz has provided exactly that through the first eight games of the season. Having him on the court knocking down shots from deep will open up the mid-range game for Tobias Harris to go to work as well as opening up lanes for slashers like Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson.
Load management is going to be a theme for the 76ers this year as superstar big man Joel Embiid misses some games throughout the season in order to be healthy for the playoffs. Having a guy who head coach Brett Brown can insert into the starting lineup with confidence is going to be huge throughout the regular season. Korkmaz looks like he could be the player Brown goes to insert into the starting lineup in times when Embiid is out of the lineup this season.
Although it is still very early in the season, Korkmaz has been a very bright spot for this team. Sustaining this type of play over a longer period of time is going to be big for both his career and the team moving forward.