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Furkan Korkmaz dealt with nerve damage in hand last season

Could a healthier Furkan Korkmaz rediscover his shooting stroke from the prior two seasons?

Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

With the Philadelphia 76ers adding P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, and Danuel House Jr. to the wing rotation for the upcoming season, Furkan Korkmaz will be in a battle for any deep bench minutes that might come his way. The main question concerning his viability for a final rotation spot is whether he’ll be the player that shot 40.2 percent and 37.5 percent from three in 2019-20 and 2020-21, respectively, or the guy that struggled at 28.9 percent last season. But maybe there was a reason for his drop in 2021-22?

At Monday’s Media Day, Korkmaz was asked about last season’s exit interviews and how he had identified what was wrong with his shot. He revealed the following:

“I had a little nerve damage, starting since the All-Star Break of last year. And then that gives me a little bit, losing the sensation in my fingers and stuff. It was a little bit about injury too. And then I lost my rhythm, my mechanic little change, it was like little changes. I lost feeling, but we couldn’t really tell what was going on. During the summer, I had enough time to do, like, what’s really going on and then treat it. I had rehab for almost two months. I had a good time to get better. And now, I’m like, I’m feeling good. I’m feeling much better. On a team like that, I cannot wait to just go out there and play.”

While Furkan’s down year isn’t completely explained by suffering nerve damage around the All-Star Break, his numbers did drop even further around that time. Let’s look at his shooting splits from last season:

Pre-All-Star: .396 FG%, .298 3PT%, .833 FT%, .512 TS%
Post-All-Star: .328 FG%, .237 3PT%, .667 FT%, .435 TS%

A hypothesis: Korkmaz was already in a slump, but after suffering the nerve damage, things took a complete nosedive. He has asserted to be feeling better after this summer’s rehab, and while the numbers weren’t stellar across a small four-game sample size in EuroBasket (6-of-19 from three, 31.6 percent), he had some big moments and certainly wasn’t afraid to defend his country’s honor off the court.

Korkmaz remains a theoretical good fit for this Sixers roster: somebody with a quick release who isn’t afraid to let it fire off a Joel Embiid kick-out or a James Harden skip pass. Given this nerve damage revelation, I’m slightly more optimistic that Furkan will be able to put his down 2021-22 season behind him, and once again be a contributor for Philadelphia.

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