Two years ago, Furkan Korkmaz wrapped up his second season with the Philadelphia 76ers. After the team's front office refused to pick up his option, it was becoming apparent the young Turkish sharpshooter didn't have a future in Philadelphia.
Korkmaz believed he wouldn't back in Philly -- but both parties had a change of heart last offseason. After rumors sparked that Korkmaz planned to play pro ball in Turkey for the 2019-2020 season, the 23-year-old veteran ultimately returned to the Sixers on a two-year deal.
With little expectations heading into last season, Korkmaz shocked the 76ers as he had a breakout season off the bench. In 72 games, Korkmaz notched career-highs across the board. He put up 9.8 points-per-game, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while knocking down 40-percent of his three-point attempts.
Korkmaz was one of the few consistent shooters for the 76ers last season. This year, as the 76ers prioritized bringing in better shooters, the competition for Korkmaz is stiffer. Some might believe Korkmaz is guaranteed to take a backseat this season -- but new Sixers head coach Doc Rivers doesn't seem to believe that will be the case.
"I love what he can do," Rivers said on Tuesday in regards to Korkmaz. "Furkan is an extremely skilled basketball player with size. Shoots the ball, can dribble the ball, can play pick and roll, has a very, very high basketball IQ, and you can see that. And he's still young. I think Furkan is going to be a very big piece to what we do this year."
Korkmaz's ability to knock down 40-percent of his shots from beyond the arc last season was somewhat unique for the 2019-2020 Sixers. Although the shooting department is upgraded this season, Korkmaz's proven versatility should help keep him in the rotation this season and allow him to upgrade his game further.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_