When Philadelphia 76ers veteran guard Furkan Korkmaz wrapped up his 2018-2019 NBA season, he believed his final game that year was his last game with the Sixers. Despite being in the NBA for just two seasons at that point, Korkmaz felt as if his third season in the NBA was going to be a fresh start for him elsewhere.
It's not much of a secret that Korkmaz's first two seasons with the 76ers were slightly disappointing. The former first-rounder might've starred for the 76ers' G League affiliates in Delaware, but his time in Philly was nothing but struggles and inconsistency.
There was a point where Korkmaz requested a trade -- and there was also a point where the 76ers decided to leave Korkmaz's third-year option on the table. Knowing everything that happened behind the scenes, it seemed inevitable that Korkmaz was no longer going to be on the Philadelphia 76ers.
But that wasn't the case. The Sixers brought Korkmaz back on a short-term deal last summer. While the expectations for the Turkish star were low heading into the 2019-2020 season, Korkmaz surprisingly became one of the 76ers' most reliable shooters off the bench -- and the 76ers can thank their All-Star center, Joel Embiid, to an extent.
"Embiid is a really nice, straight person. He fights on the court, he trash talks but really has good intentions," Korkmaz said, according to Talk Basket's Yannis Bouranis. "He tries to help everyone. I can say that he took me under his wing after I joined the team."
In year three, Korkmaz just needed an opportunity to prove his worth. Fortunately, Embiid's influence helped convince Brett Brown to take a chance on his potential' bomber.'
During the season, the 76ers' head coach mentioned that he was starting to use some of the plays he previously utilized when JJ Redick was a part of the team by running them with Korkmaz. And according to Korkmaz, Embiid's the one who convinced Brown to give it a try.
"JJ Redick had a play they played with Embiid last year," Korkmaz continued. "'I want to play it with Furkan this year,' [Embiid] said. We added it to the team. I feel that he actually took me under his wing in this kind of thing."
This season, Korkmaz averaged a career-high of 9.7 points-per-game, while shooting 39.7-percent from three. While he can undoubtedly take credit for working hard on his third-year jump for the 76ers -- the 22-year-old shooting guard believes that Embiid's leadership deserves praise as it gained Korkmaz some unexpected opportunities. Without the All-Star center's request, the 76ers might not have known what Korkmaz could bring to the table during the 2019-2020 season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_