The 2016 NBA Draft is getting an overwhelming amount of negative buzz, and for good reason. Skal Labissiere hasn't been able to put a low-post game together, Jamal Murray is floundering in Kentucky's three-guard lineup and until Brandon Ingram woke up last week, this was largely seen as a Simmons-or-bust race. And perhaps that hasn't changed; Ben Simmons is still leaps and bounds ahead of the pack when it comes to showcasing elite, superstar-caliber traits on the basketball court.
But the situation isn't as bleak as you may hear (it very rarely is, but that's a conversation for a different day). While it's unclear if any non-Simmons prospects will emerge as candidates to be top-dog, bonafide studs at the next level, there are plenty of players in both the college and international ranks with the potential to add to a franchise's treasure chest. One of those guys is Anadolu Efes wing Furkan Korkmaz.
Korkmaz turned 18 in June, and he stands a slender but explosive 6-foot-7, with what looks like very promising measurables. He has a real feel for the game on both sides of the ball, but where the mountain meets the moon is from beyond the arc. His stroke is repeatable, high, lightning quick and lethal both off-the-catch and off-the-bounce.
You can see how Korkmaz is converting on 45.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc this season. He hocks up 6.6 attempts per 40 and 2.2 per game in 13 minutes, on a 224-minute, 17-game sample this year, and he does it in a variety of ways. He can be your classic wing stationed in the corner and running off screens, or the more diverse threat he showcased in the second clip above.
Under pressure with three seconds to go on the shot clock, he catches the ball, turns the corner off of Derrick Brown's screen, and goes up for a one-dribble triple. This is where you start to see what excited so many of us about Mario Hezonja this time last year (myself included) - that dual threat ability, as a low-usage perimeter sniper, to play on-ball as well as off-ball when it's necessary.
This clip isn't here for the behind-the-back dime, although the Sixers could certainly use some more Vineability this season. This demonstrates the feared threat he is from outside. Thomas Heurtel slices into the lane, probes, and kicks to open Korkmaz, and Furkan's defender helplessly scrambles to close out. Furkan doesn't miss a beat, putting the ball on the floor to attack the close-out and then reversing the ball again with his dish back to the corner.
At this early stage, Korkmaz isn't quite a plus defender, but he's not a negative either. Furkan's consistently active - he brings the help, reads offenses adequately and switches pretty smoothly thanks to his combination of length and mobility. To me, he projects to be solid on the defensive side once he bulks up a little and can absorb contact, like the hip-check on an opposing ball-handler's first step. But he'll also get caught over-helping, as seen below.
This isn't all that egregious. He's over-helping, but staying hyper-active and aware of where his man is. He just helps for too long, and gives the offense time to catch him in space and screen him off from his man. It's these types of correctable mistakes you see hurt him more often than not, and it's not something I'm convinced an 18 year-old playing professionally with grown-ass men can't straighten out in time.
There are bound to be plenty of weaknesses for an 18 year-old in a top-shelf professional league, especially one with an inconsistent role at best on a veteran-laden team. For Korkmaz, aside from his early struggles on the defensive side, his cellar-dwelling free throw rate (FTr) of .09 in Turkish league play simply won't cut it for a prospect you're hoping could be a third or fourth scoring option on a competitive team (for reference, TJ McConnell's FTr is .039). But the raw ability is there on the offensive end, and the outside arsenal has a real shot to be top-notch.
Between those diverse scoring capabilities, how seamlessly he could slide into all sorts of lineups, his secondary playmaking (which I likely undersold) and the NBA-caliber physical profile, we're talking about an all but cemented mid-late lottery prospect here. With how weak the perceived leaders of the pack have been, this June is admittedly looking like it could be unpredictable in epic, 2013 esque proportions. But what Furkan projects to bring to an NBA team is fairly quantifiable, it's only a matter of finding a team that could use his services.
If you can think of any NBA teams with a shortage of competent shot-creation, high-volume perimeter scoring and two-way project-ability, be sure to let Korkmaz's reps know.