The Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz Game – Observations from Sixers 125, Pistons 109

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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Nice to see the Sixers rip off a comfortable road win against a bad team, to see them handle their business ahead of tomorrow’s national television, Christmas Day showdown against Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks.

No drama last night; no hairy fourth quarter moments, just a comprehensive and professional win, which is made easy when you shoot 54.7% from the floor and get huge contributions from guys not named Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons.

Let’s talk about it:

Tobias Harris

A season-high 35 points for him on 14-21 shooting with a 4-7 mark from three.

He’s looked very assertive in recent weeks, more like the player we saw in Los Angeles last year prior to the Sixers trade. He’s taking more shots, scoring more points, and most importantly, shouldering the burden on the offensive end, which takes pressure off of Joel Embiid to go out every night and be the leading scorer. The best load management, perhaps, is to have somebody else carry the load for you, or simply redistribute the weight.

And the results are good when Tobias shoots early and often. This month alone, the Sixers are 5-1 when he tries 20 or more field goal attempts. In November and October, he only hit that threshold once in twenty games, so it shows you how much his volume has increased in a short amount of time.

Here’s everything that has improved from November into December:

  • field goal attempts: 14.6 –> 18.0
  • three point attempts: 3.8 –> 5.0
  • three point percentage: 28.3 –> 36.7
  • free throw attempts: 3.2 –> 3.6
  • free throw percentage: 76.5 –> 81.4
  • points: 17.9 –> 22.4

He’s done that while playing 0.7 more minutes per game, so it’s not exactly a wonky skew based on more floor time. Tobias has really upped his output across the board while his per-36 numbers check out.

It was also interesting to see that pseudo-confrontation with Blake Griffin, since Tobias is possibly the nicest guy on the planet and one of the nicest athletes I’ve ever been around. There wasn’t much to it, but it was intriguing nonetheless:

Griffin, you’ll recall, was brought to Detroit in the trade that sent Harris and Boban Marjanovic to Los Angeles a while back. Maybe there’s some lingering “I’m better than you are” thought there, or perhaps not. I’m just spitballing. Either way, I was hoping Ben Simmons was going to put Griffin in a rear-naked choke, same way he got Karl-Anthony Towns to tap out back in October.

Popping the Kork

A career-high 21 points for Furkan Korkmaz, who appears to have retired the bright yellow shoes he was wearing earlier this year. His kicks last night appeared to be some version of lime green, but I could be wrong since I’m partially colorblind.

I liked his output though, specifically the very balanced shot chart he put up:

Analytics folks would love that shot plot. There’s only one mid-range look, while the rest is nicely split between paint and three-point looks, two of which came from that short corner area. He was 1-2 from three below the break and and 2-5 above the break, and 3-7 overall from three is 42.9%, so you’ll take that any day of the week.

But I think Furkan is similar to Harris in that he builds confidence cumulatively with volume. More shots = more confidence = more points, and he should be given a green light in a road game against a crappy team. Why not?

Here’s what he did:

Furkan isn’t going to confuse anybody for an athletic specimen, but he’s a smart player, and you see that in the way he’s able to read Ben Simmons’ actions and position himself well for the result of those sequences, be it the tip-in at the beginning of that clip, the run out for the dunk, or the cut for the short floater. Korkmaz has always had a little bit of street sense to his offensive game, and it was nice to see some of that come out last night. I think he’s probably the smartest off-ball player the Sixers have on the roster.

Holiday cheer

I liked Jim Lynam’s ugly Christmas sweater:

The ‘ole tuxedo shirt, but it’s a Christmas sweater. Pretty gnarly. Looks really comfortable.

Other notes:

  • 16,13, and 17 is a ridiculous Ben Simmons line. His assist to turnover ratio last night was 17/4 = 4.25 
  • James Ennis was a +20 off the bench.
  • Griffin finished 2-14 and 0-6 from three, just a wretched performance from him. He’s struggled mightily in recent games, and he doesn’t look anything like himself, almost like his knees are shot or something like that.
  • Trey Burke got the backup PG minutes last night with Raul Neto listed as questionable before the game.
  • The Embiid/Andre Drummond “rivalry” seems to have died down. Not a lot of jawing or demonstrating or gesticulating or anything like that. Both guys played well last night, actually missed five total shots if you can believe it.
  • Josh Richardson still isn’t shooting the ball very well. 4-11 and 0-4 from deep last night.

Have a fantastic Christmas. Here’s my favorite Christmas movie scene of all time:

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4 Responses

      1. Holy shit. Dad looks like a Walking Dead Zombie, Mom looks like the woman in the “Black Hole Sun” video. He turned out EXACTLY like you’d imagine with those two as his parents.

  1. Not sure how this can be considered a merry Christmas with the Cuz being off the air today. I might jump off the Walt Whitman wearing my Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and Eagles jerseys on top of one another.

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