The 76ers picked up contract options for Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons yesterday.
That’s not news, but one player missing from the press release was Furkan Korkmaz, who did not have his third-year option exercised.
It doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, since Korkmaz has essentially been out of Brett Brown’s early season rotation, with ex-starter JJ Redick now coming off the bench and rookie Landry Shamet preferred as a backup perimeter shooter. The 21 year old Korkmaz has only appeared in five games this season for a total of 26 minutes and is 2-5 on field goal attempts.
Those minutes won’t exactly be going up, not with Wilson Chandler and first-round draft pick Zhaire Smith returning to the lineup. But Korkmaz himself was a first round pick, a late selection who had a very good summer league and also showed well for his international squad, suggesting that maybe he could give the Sixers some pop off the bench after the departure of Marco Belinelli in the spring.
That doesn’t seem to be the case, and Korkmaz expressed his frustration with Keith Pompey earlier this week:
“I just left my country to come here and to play here,” said Korkmaz, a native of Turkey. “I just want to play. Then I feel like I’m ready to play. That’s why I’m looking for an opportunity to play.”
“This is my second year. I just need to play.”
He’s not wrong, and I don’t blame him for feeling that way.
I’m not sure how you properly evaluate the guy if he’s not on the floor, but the Sixers just seem to value Shamet right now and all Furkan can do is scrap his way into the rotation by busting his ass in practice.
The bigger picture is more about the back end of the Bryan Colangelo drafts, which are now looking like another stain on his already mediocre Philadelphia resume.
The Sixers took Furkan with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 draft and also picked up Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot two picks earlier:
TLC is no longer here and Furkan isn’t in the rotation. Pascal Siakam is a key Toronto piece and Dejounte Murray was in line to take a big step forward this season before injuring his knee.
It’s the same thing in 2017, when the Sixers traded up to get Anzejs Pasecniks while Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart were still on the board:
Sure, the draft can be a total crap shoot, and revisionist draft history might be a corny exercise, but the fact of the matter is that it looks like the crap shoot resulted in three late first-round misses for the Sixers in consecutive years.
The Sixers’ bench will look a lot better when Chandler and Smith come back to join Redick, Shamet, and Mike Muscala, but they’d be much closer to Toronto and Boston if they had taken a swing on Kuzma, Hart, Murray, Siakam, or maybe even Skal Labissiere.
Here’s the comparison for each player’s current season. For Murray, I ran last year’s numbers since he’s out for this season:
You can’t judge Furkan if he doesn’t play, but I don’t know if that opportunity will even present itself.