Furkan Korkmaz Sees His Stock Rise vs. Pistons
PHILADELPHIA, PA (973espn.com) -- During the regular season, there's never really much of a benefit when a key player misses the game. When it comes to the preseason, though, missing players can be especially positive as it allows other players to step in and garner more playing time than usual.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia 76ers were missing three players. Two of which are in the assumed starting lineup for the regular season. So with Ben Simmons and Al Horford out of the picture against the Pistons, two familiar faces came in to start. The rookie Matisse Thybulle took over at shooting guard, while the veteran Furkan Korkmaz played forward.
At this point, the young rookie solidified himself as a reliable backup off the bench. Thybulle will get a substantial amount of playing time this season. So his minutes on Tuesday were just a matter of seeing how the first-round pick can perform with starting talent on the floor.
As for Korkmaz, his situation was a bit different. Sixers head coach Brett Brown not only wanted to see Korkmaz perform against starting talent -- but he also wanted to see if the third-year veteran could improve his stock as the preseason winds down.
Going in with little expectation, Korkmaz surprisingly had a few unexpectedly great moments on the floor Tuesday night. He received 23 minutes on the court, playing at small forward, replacing Tobias Harris, who had to shift and replace the absent Al Horford.
Korkmaz managed to put up seven shots, draining four of them for a total of ten points on the night. Four of his seven shots came from beyond the arc, where he knocked down 50-percent of his attempts. Offensively, Korkmaz did a nice job and had some standout moments. Defensively, he wasn't flawless, but he did manage to pick up four rebounds, a steal, and a blocked shot.
Before, we could probably assume that Korkmaz wasn't really in Brett Brown's favor. And that opinion could still be correct today. However, after his start on Tuesday night, it sure sounds like Korkmaz improved his stock in the eyes of Coach Brown.
"I thought he helped himself tonight," Brown said following the game on Tuesday while discussing Furkan Korkmaz's showing. "As we've said, there’s a benefit playing with veteran players. There’s another environment there that needs to be judged or thought through. I thought that he came in with that sort of, more established group and performed well.”
Now that he's seen a rise in stock, is Brett Brown sold on the young veteran potentially coming off the bench as a reserve shooter during the regular season? Not quite. When asked about it, Brown wasn't so sure at this point. As Brown will "maybe," consider that idea, Korkmaz still has a lot to prove with another preseason game coming up on Friday. So far, he's on the right path to picking up some regular-season minutes though -- but he's still has a lot to prove before that happens.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_