Despite being unhappy with his playing time in October, Furkan Korkmaz has received more opportunities in the past few weeks with the Sixers. Korkmaz has played in 15 of the 76ers’ last 16 games, scoring 18 points in 34 minutes against the Nets on Wednesday.
Korkmaz admitted that he wasn’t ready to see significant playing time last season, but took leaps forward as an all-around basketball player during the offseason. There was an expectation entering the 2018/19 season that he would see more time on the court, as has been the case recently.
“At the time I was telling to people, even like my agent, my parents, my sister, it doesn’t matter who, I was telling them I want to play this year,” Korkmaz told Jessica Camerato, who profiled him for an in-depth Basketball Insiders story. “It was my goal. It was my second year … I knew that I wasn’t ready last year. I wasn’t ready. I knew that. I just worked hard, even when I got injured.
“But I feel like I improved a lot then, not as basketball, physically, as my body. I was saying to people, ‘I want to play,’ … I never got down mentally. I knew that my time will come, but I didn’t know when.”
Korkmaz, 21, was drafted by the Sixers with the No. 26 pick in 2016 after spending multiple seasons overseas. He’s scoring 5.8 points per game on 43% shooting from the floor, 34% from 3-point range and 86% from the charity stripe so far this season, and could earn more minutes as the season progresses if he doesn’t get traded.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Kyrie Irving has embraced his leadership role with the Celtics this season, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports writes. “He’s really taking guys under his wing — very vocal, encouraging when he needs to be. He’s really embracing that role,” teammate Al Horford said of Irving. The Celtics are winners of seven straight games and have a 17-10 record nearly two months into the season.
- Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News projects which players will have a future with the Knicks, detailing talents such as Trey Burke, Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Knicks agreed to a two-year deal with Allonzo Trier and waived Ron Baker on Thursday.
- Raptors star Kawhi Leonard has been the MVP the team hoped for this season, our own Mark Suleymanov writes for The Sporting News. Leonard has guided the Raptors to a league-best 23-7 record this season, holding per-game averages of 26.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals.