LAS VEGAS — Furkan Korkmaz is leaving Las Vegas with a better picture of what he needs to work on before beginning his rookie season with the Sixers this fall.
Korkmaz will go straight from summer league to Turkey's under-20 competition in Greece on Saturday (see story). From there, he will play for the Turkish national team in EuroBasket. Korkmaz is taking with him nearly two weeks of experience on the NBA stage, his first taste of his new league.
“I am trying to keep me in shape,” Korkmaz said of his upcoming international games. “I know I have to be better and better. I have to work on some of my dribbles … there’s no time to just rest.”
Korkmaz scored a team-high 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds in Friday’s 99-82 consolation loss to the Bulls (see Instant Replay). He shot 4 for 9 from long range and alternated his game to attack the rim (see highlights).
“You cannot make all the shots in the same game,” he said. “Sometimes you’re not in shape and then you have to find some other solutions to score, get teammates into the game. I think that’s the key.”
Korkmaz struggled at times during summer league action. He shot 16.7 percent from the field in two games in Salt Lake City. He got settled into a rhythm in the second of five games in Las Vegas.
“As the whole thing’s gone on, he’s gotten far more comfortable, far more aggressive,” Sixers video coordinator Connor Johnson, who filled in as head coach on Friday, said.
Korkmaz worked closely with the Sixers’ strength and conditioning staff to improve his physical development. At 6-foot-7, 192 pounds, he will have to put on muscle to hold his own against NBA-level opponents.
“I have to improve my body,” Korkmaz said. “My body’s not enough for the NBA. But that’s why I’m coming here to get the experience.”
Korkmaz, 19, paid a hefty buyout to play for the Sixers next season. He has a long way to go and could spend time in the G-League, but set the foundation playing in summer league.
“I think he’s young and had a lot of good experience here, but that maturity will really help,” Johnson said. “I think the same thing about being aggressive in different offensive situations. I think he got better as time went on.”