LAS VEGAS — Furkan Korkmaz is a shooter. He will have to be more than that on the Sixers.
Korkmaz is learning to adapt playing without the ball in his hands during summer league. The shooting guard will not be an offensive centerpiece next season, and he is using the time in Las Vegas to adapt to that role.
“He’s not going to be a guy that has the ball in his hands a lot next year,” Las Vegas Summer League head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “So he’s got to create shots with his movement. He’s got to create shots with his spacing.”
Korkmaz echoed Pierce about his shot-creation abilities. He believes his court vision will help the Sixers, too.
Pierce also would like the 6-foot-8 Korkmaz to improve his defense, which can earn the rookie more playing time.
“He does have to figure out how he can get in and make an impact,” Pierce said.
Korkmaz has been starting for the Sixers in Vegas but will come off the bench in the regular season. He has shot 35.3 percent (12 for 34) from the field and 35.0 percent (7 for 20) from three in four summer league games.
Korkmaz attempted 13 field goals on Sunday against the Spurs. Pierce said in retrospect, he would have made Korkmaz more involved in the offense during the first half. Pierce could make adjustments in the Sixers’ next game, Tuesday against the Celtics.
“Everybody likes to play with the ball,” Korkmaz said. “I think the most important thing is playing without [it].”
Well, you can’t say the Sixers aren’t aiming high.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Sixers “have been rebuffed in their attempt to hire away Houston's Daryl Morey to take over as their new general manager.” Stein added that the team had great interest in Morey, but he couldn’t be lured away from the Rockets.
Morey, who has served as the Rockets’ general manager since 2007, was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year after Houston secured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a franchise-best 65-17 record during the 2017-18 regular season.
Morey obviously fits the Sixers from a surface standpoint with his analytics background, commitment to building a pace-and-space roster and desire to chase stars. However, what makes the Sixers’ desire in him really interesting is that Morey is the mentor of former Sixers front office executive Sam Hinkie.
Bryan Colangelo, the man who replaced Hinkie in the Sixers’ front office, resigned in June after a scandal involving multiple secret Twitter accounts rocked the franchise. Head coach Brett Brown took over as interim general manager following Colangelo's resignation.
The Sixers have been patient throughout their search as managing owner Josh Harris recently said there is no timetable to select a candidate.
“We’re just getting focused on it now, given everything with free agency and the draft, and also the other GMs are in the same place. We’re looking for the right person,” Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool last week (see story). “One of the things that Bryan Colangelo did really well was we built a great staff, whether it be (vice president of basketball operations and chief of staff) Ned Cohen or (vice president of analytics and strategy) Alex Rucker or (vice president of player personnel) Marc Eversley or (Delaware Blue Coats general manger) Elton Brand, we have a lot of great people. It’s very consensus-oriented, there’s a lot of people in the dialogue, and we want to make sure we find the right fit for that.
“It’s not going to be easy. My guess is it’s going to take awhile. And we’re obviously focused on doing it as quickly as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations — it could take a little while. So we’re just starting that.”
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The band is back together.
The Sixers are still making their offseason moves official, which is what happened on Monday when the team officially announced a one-year deal to bring back Amir Johnson. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is reportedly worth the veteran’s minimum, which would be $2.39 million for the center.
“Our experience with Amir last year confirms to us, on so many levels, that he is a perfect fit for our young and developing team,” Brett Brown said in a statement. “His work ethic, leadership and buy-in to team-first basketball all comes to mind when I think of his value to our ball club and his acceptance of a backup role to All-Star Joel Embiid is priceless. We are thrilled to have Amir and his family back in our program and I know this feeling is a shared by all of his teammates.”
Johnson, the last player drafted into the NBA straight from high school, spent his 13th professional season with the Sixers in 2017-18. The 31-year-old averaged 4.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 15.8 minutes a night.
However, it was the little things Johnson did that really added up for the Sixers. The big man had the highest aggregate hustle score, which measures screen assists, deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn and contested shots per contest, to win the league’s second-ever Hustle Award.
“This is definitely an honor,” Johnson said after receiving the award. “I pride myself on doing the little things on the court and I just want to say thank you to my teammates and coaches. This award means a lot.”
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