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Furkan Korkmaz excelling with Turkish National Team

The 12 Giant Men were Popping the Kork in Greece this week

Eastern Conference Semifinals - Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

In an offseason with a fair amount of roster turnover for the Sixers, one of the surprising moves involved bringing back a player from last year’s squad. After having declined the 2019 club option on Furkan Korkmaz’s rookie deal, Philadelphia later signed the Turkish wing to a 2-year, $3.38M deal. While many were happy the Sixers could Pop the Kork for two more seasons, others were confused why the team was bringing back a guy who had shot just 32.3 percent from 3 across his first two NBA seasons, and often found himself in Brett Brown’s doghouse for a lack of focus on the defensive end.

The Sixers must have concluded that there is still room to grow for a guy who, while not young by Jahlil Okafor’s forever 19-years-old standard, only turned 22 last month. Korkmaz has certainly looked terrific in international play during the month of August. In the Acropolis Tournament in Athens this week, Turkey went 2-1(correction: 1-2), losing 87-72 to Serbia and 84-70 to Greece, before defeating Italy 72-70. Korkmaz was Turkey’s leading scorer in the team’s two losses, dropping 16 points against Serbia (4-for-8 from 3), and 25 points and 5 assists against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece (4-for-8 from 3). He also tallied 12 points in the win over Italy.

Here are the full highlights from the Acropolis Tournament matches:

The man still has hops, lest we forget he once won a dunk contest in a Darth Vader mask.

The week prior to the action in Athens, Korkmaz and the rest of the 12 Giant Men participated in four friendlies (all wins for Turkey). Korkmaz reached double figures in scoring in each game (15 points vs. France, 14 points vs. Tunisia, 13 points vs. Senegal, and 15 points vs. Jordan).

These are exhibition games against differing levels of competition, but if you’re a Furkan-stan, you have to be encouraged by the high-powered offensive display. We’ll see if Korkmaz continues to flourish during FIBA World Cup play in a couple weeks, and how much carries over when he comes back stateside to fight for an end-of-the-rotation spot with the Sixers.

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