Most were unsure if Furkan Korkmaz would even be a Sixer going forward just a few months ago. It wasn’t that the Sixers didn’t want him back, it was more so the very real possibility that another team would offer a deal he couldn’t turn down. The modern NBA values shooting more than anything, and Korkmaz is one of the most underrated shooters in the entire league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are just one example of a team that had constant interest in him over the past few years. They were even rumored to be in some contract talks just a few months ago.
Hearing Furkan Korkmaz to the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a thing. Cavs looking for young wing shooting and Korkmaz is only 24 years old, despite four years in the NBA.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) August 2, 2021
Thankfully, the Sixers and Korkmaz managed to come to terms on a three-year deal worth $15 million total to keep one of the longest-tenured Sixers in the City of Brotherly Love. Fun fact: Furkan might end up being the second-longest tenured Sixer, if/when Ben Simmons gets traded.
While $15 million might sound like a ton of money to you or I, it’s not that much in NBA terms. In fact, it’s a very reasonable salary for an above-average shooter in the NBA. Furkan has even developed into a quality rotation player that has capability to do more things than just standstill shooting. He’s been a capable secondary ball handler and has even improved on the defensive end of the floor. He’s been the Sixers’ backup point guard in the absence of Simmons, Shake Milton, and Grant Riller.
The Sixers had a somewhat quiet offseason that some found a bit underwhelming. The team didn’t make a blockbuster move, but they did manage to make good moves within the margins. Korkmaz’s new contract is one of those great moves, especially in comparison to similar players around the league.
We’ve seen teams shell out massive amounts of money to volume shooters that are above league average in terms of percentage. Davis Bertans, Joe Harris and Duncan Robinson are just a few examples of shooters that cashed out. All of their deals are north of $80 million in total.
While all of those above listed players are starting-caliber players, their stats are very eerily similar to Korkmaz when put into a per-36 minute perspective. Furkan is a bench player who will likely play somewhere between 20-25 minutes on average.
A few months ago I ran a poll where I anonymously put up stats in the per-36 metric to avoid any personal bias. I used Korkmaz and Robinson to see which player/deal they’d prefer. Here were the results:
Player A is set to make $15.6 million this season, Player B is set to make $4.6 million this season. Vote below ⤵️— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) September 16, 2021
Korkmaz won the vote by a pretty decent margin. Stats (and more specifically per-36 minutes stats) don’t tell the full story, so it’s important to take this with a grain of salt. Robinson is in a much more demanding role and shoots a higher volume. When you stack both players side by side, however, you can make the argument that Korkmaz isn’t far behind Robinson, if at all. The fact he’ll make over $10 million less than Robinson speaks volumes to how valuable his next contract is to the team.
Still not sold on comparing Furkan’s new deal to starting-caliber players? Let’s compare him to a player with a very similar skillset and role that recently signed a new deal: Landry Shamet. The Phoenix Suns recently signed the former Sixer to a four-year $43 million dollar contract extension. While that may seem like a lot of money I should also point out that a decent amount of the contract isn’t guaranteed.
Landry Shamet's contract extension with the Phoenix Suns includes a good amount of non-guaranteed salary:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) October 19, 2021
24-25 & 25-26 are non-guaranteed w/ late-June trigger date. 25-26 is also a team option.@spotrac
Shamet’s new deal puts a completely different perspective on Korkmaz’s deal. Shamet is a very similar player to Korkmaz in regards to role, as he’s a bench player that is capable of some playmaking and can hit shots with regularity. Their stats last season were nearly identical in terms of playing time, production and role.
I’ll mainly focus on their primary skill of shooting here, but their assist, rebounding and stat production across the board is very similar. Last season Shamet averaged 9.3 points in 23 minutes per game while shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three. He averaged 5.5 three point attempts per game while making 2.1 of them. Korkmaz, on the other hand, averaged 9.1 points in 19.3 minutes per game while shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point territory. Korkmaz attempted 4.9 three pointers per game while making 1.8 of them.
The stats showcase that their production is nearly identical given their respective roles. Korkmaz will make nearly half of Shamet’s contract next season. This comparison alone shows how team friendly of a deal the Sixers got Korkmaz on.
Korkmaz was a huge factor in the Sixers winning their first game of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans. He finished the game with 22 points, 4 of 4 shooting from three, to go along with five assists in just 20 minutes of play. The Sixers will need Korkmaz more than ever this season as they look to replace some offensive production left by Simmons. Having Korkmaz on his current deal for the foreseeable future is a wonderful thing, and I’m glad the Sixers will have the man behind the best offseason workout video in NBA history.