Position: Shooting guard/Small forward
Status for 2018-19: Signed for $1,740,000
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Korkmaz in 2017-18
And you thought Markelle Fultz had a roller-coaster rookie season. Korkmaz's first professional season in the U.S. was anything but smooth.
Despite a promising performance in summer league and the preseason, the Turkish swingman was always going to be buried on the Sixers' bench. However, it wasn't even clear which jersey he would be wearing on a nightly basis, as Korkmaz was assigned to the Delaware 87ers (now Blue Coats) and recalled by the Sixers 10 different times during the first two months of the season.
Things got even worse in mid-December when Korkmaz suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot while playing in the G League.
By the time Korkmaz returned toward the end of March, his season was a wash. In all, he played 24 total games (15 with the Sixers and nine with the 87ers). While he was able to show glimpses of why he was a first-round pick in 2016 in the Gatorade League (15.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals in 31.9 minutes a night), his action in the NBA came mostly in garbage time (1.6 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.2 assists and 0.1 steals in 5.7 minutes a contest).
The 2017-18 served as the ultimate learning experience for the 20-year-old Korkmaz.
It's hard to have a signature game when you only play in 15 total NBA games and none of your minutes actually come in meaningful moments. So we'll go to the G League for this one.
On Nov. 20, Korkmaz notched 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the 87ers' 119-111 loss to the Wisconsin Herd (see highlights).
Looking ahead to 2018-19
Korkmaz's proving ground for next season will start this summer when he is expected to take the court in summer league again.
The Sixers hope there he can regain the shooting touch he showed overseas that helped make him a first-rounder. The step up in defensive intensity clearly affected Korkmaz as he shot just 28.6 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three-point range for the Sixers. He was even worse in one aspect in the G League where he connected on 35.0 percent from the field and a dismal 19.4 percent from three.
Spending another summer in the Sixers' program will also help benefit Korkmaz's body. He was able to add some weight to his lean frame this past season but certainly still needs work to take the physicality at this level.
If he is able to work on his shot and physique, perhaps Korkmaz can find some more minutes for Brett Brown next season other than when the games are already decided.
"The NBA's totally different, but [when] you get used to it, it's real fun. You really enjoy it. I'm playing with very good players, and everybody here is a good person. They try to help me every day. We are practicing hard, we are working hard, and when you try to know how to play with each other, you start to feel better and you start to play better."
- Korkmaz on adjusting to the NBA