Any time a team replaces Dario Saric with Tyler Honeycutt, things are going to be, well, different. And that was Anadolu Efes (the Istanbul 76ers) this offseason. Out went Saric with a bundle of solid wings in Jon Diebler, Elijah Johnson and Alex Tyus and in came a young(er) band of NBA castoffs in Tyler Honeycutt, Bryce Cotton, DeShaun Thomas and Co. The cleaner wing rotation this season wasn't a coincidence either - the team is certainly expecting a step-up from Sixers first-round pick Furkan Korkmaz as a rotation 2/3 and secondary ball-handler. And so far, the 19 year-old looks far more prepared to handle a real role than he did a year ago.
Although he saw a DNP-CD in the team's first Euroleague action, Korkmaz has already seen the floor quite a bit in regular season play. In the team's season-opener against Istanbul, he saw 15 minutes and put in ten points, including 1-of-4 from distance. He then started in Efes' road opener against Ankara, playing 22 minutes and pouring in 18 points, three boards and an assist on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from deep, in a 49-point win. Ankara is one of the worst teams in this league, but it's good to see Korkmaz get into a rhythm regardless.
I haven't gotten a chance to watch Korkmaz just yet this season, so I'll hold off on the #takes until next week, but he has his work cut out for him before he makes the jump over to the NBA. He has to add some serious muscle to compete defensively, and some muscle addition could go a long way in adding some burst to a physical profile that otherwise lacks it. And of course, more than anything else, he needs reps, and if the first couple of weeks are any indication, he'll at the very least get those in BSL play. Efes faces off with Olympiacos in Euroleague play today, so it'll be interesting to monitor if he sees the floor at that level of competition just yet. Erick Green and Kostas Papanikolau, among others, would be good tests for him.
Vasilije Micic: After finishing out his season on loan with Crvena zvezda, Sixers 2014 second-round pick Vasilije Micic headed back to Turkey, joining Tofas Bursa in the BSL for this upcoming season. And he's wasted no time making his presence felt against high-end domestic competition.
In the season opener against David Blatt's new-look Darussafaka squad, Micic went for 21 points and four dimes in 30 minutes, including six (!!!) three-pointers out of 10 attempts. Matching up against a talented guard rotation of Scottie Wilbekin, James Anderson and Brad Wanamaker too.
The following week at Galatasaray, he poured in 20 points again, and on four treys, with two steals and a couple of assists.
Micic was brutal last season, getting played out of Bayern and barely cracking 30 percent shooting from the field on loan for the second half on multiple levels of competition. He's shot under 30 percent from long range the last two years with the clubs he's played with, with an AST:TO ratio no higher than 1.5 along the way. He hasn't looked like any semblance of an NBA player. But this is impressive, and to do this to two Euroleague teams makes it just a tad less likely that it's just a mirage.
But, yeah, it's probably just a mirage. We'll see how he follows this up in another matchup with Darussafaka on Saturday, but as if you even need reminding, I'd advise we all keep our Vasilije Micic expectations tempered.
In the mean time, enjoy your Embiid highlights, people. Six days to opening night.