We've reached a turning point in the Sam Hinkie era of 76ers basketball: I'm off the Furkan Aldemir bandwagon. When the guy who wakes up in the morning and starts arguing over the Sixers' international players before he gets out of bed starts to think that Aldemir's potential as an NBA bench player has run its course, it might be time. Just five months ago, I wrote the following praising Aldemir's chances of becoming an NBA contributor:
Aldemir was billed as a guy who was an elite rebounder in Europe, a skill that has historically translated well into solid rebounding performances stateside. That's exactly the player who the Sixers received, as Aldemir's offensive rebounding rate (14.9%) tied for fifth among all players (min. 540 minutes), tying him with Reggie Evans and leaving him behind Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whitesideand Dewayne Dedmon.
Aldemir is under team control through 2018 at just $3 million per season, and his contract is guaranteed for 2015-16. A guy who can grab some boards, provide depth for the team's budding stars down low in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, all the while picking off defenders is someone with a role on Brett Brown's squad at least for next season.
The wheels have been falling off the bandwagon ever since with Aldemir's preseason play. He looks lost. It's not just about his shortcomings statistically and with the eye test. If anything, it's because of undrafted free agent power forward Christian Wood:
The Cross, as Michael Baumann has christened the UNLV product, is playing like the Sixers just had another lottery talent dumped into their laps.
He's not THAT far off from replicating Furkan's best skill, as Wood had a defensive rebounding rate of 22.8% as a collegiate sophomore. Where Aldemir lacks discernible NBA skills other than being a nasty screen-setter and rebounder, Wood has some semblance of a jumper, blocks shots in the paint and can drive from the perimeter for huge dunks like he does in the above highlight. Wood, with his net rating of +15.7 in the preseason and his 13-and-10 game earlier in the week against the Knicks, looks comfortable taking on NBA competition already. He's a perfect compliment at the four next to either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor if some of this preseason performance or the talent that averaged 15 and 10 at UNLV can transfer to Philadelphia this season.
Aldemir, bless his heart, hasn't been cutting it with his net rating of -9.0 and what amounts to a lack of on-court awareness. Has he always been this unaware? Was I blinded by his beautiful beard and haircut? His Turkish ancestry? His agent's dealings with Saric? Maybe.
I'll miss the Furkan era. It's the closest I'll ever get to looking like a Sixers player:
When you realize you were separated at birth from your Turkish, offensive-rebounding twin: pic.twitter.com/XFioHVmp0l— Shamus (@shamus_clancy) May 13, 2015