LAS VEGAS -- The Sixers believe Furkan Korkmaz can succeed in the NBA. Now it’s up to Korkmaz to build up that same level of self-assurance.
“[We want him to focus on] confidence,” assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said Friday.
The past week has been a whirlwind for Korkmaz.
He signed with the Sixers, who drafted him 26th overall last year, on Tuesday. From there, he left Turkey and traveled to Salt Lake City to join them for summer league. He made his debut Wednesday, played again Thursday and then flew with the team to Las Vegas for their practice Friday afternoon.
This is only Korkmaz’s third trip to the United States and his first to Las Vegas.
“When I start to feel more comfortable, I will play better,” Korkmaz said. “I believe that.”
The shooting guard averaged 6.5 points in his first two summer league games. He went 2 for 12 (16.7 percent) from the field, including 0 for 5 in the debut. He went to work after practice Friday, putting up long-range shots.
Early in-game struggles like that are to be expected. Like Dario Saric faced last season, Korkmaz is learning a new team and, more significantly, a new league. A different three-point line. Different terminology. Different scenery. It all adds up.
“Of course I need to get more confidence,” Korkmaz said.
Korkmaz has been in touch with Saric, his former teammate in Turkey, who has been giving him encouragement about the adjustment. The Sixers will continue to as well. Then it'll be up to Korkmaz to feel the same.
“He’s a shooter. He’s an athlete. He’s a gifted passer. He is a skilled basketball player,” Pierce said. “I think if he just goes out there and plays with confidence, I think he’ll be fine.”