Korkmaz Ready for Jazz
A day after signing his first NBA contract, Furkan Korkmaz is set to make his first appearance for the 76ers, which chose him 26th overall in last year’s draft.
All indications that emerged following Wednesday’s shootaround pointed to the swingman getting a starting a nod later in the evening against the Utah Jazz.
“I feel very excited,” Korkmaz said. “I’m very happy to be here, so tonight I’m going to play. This is the first time that I’ll play in a Sixers’ jersey. I’m really excited, and can’t wait to play.”
A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Korkmaz had been vacationing in the country, in the town of Izmir, for five days before flying to Philadelphia Monday. He then made a connection to Salt Lake City.
In all, the 19-year old was in the air for roughly 15 hours. Based on the sounds of it, the journey was well worth it.
“Finally, I made it,” said Korkmaz, his remark perhaps unintentionally containing both literal and figurative meaning. “I’m on the contract with the Sixers. I can’t wait to play. It’s a really special day.”
In explaining the timing of his decision to make the jump to the NBA, Korkmaz, who played professionally in Europe the last four years, expressed a desire to advance his game. Furthermore, he wanted to waste little time in doing so, hence the reasoning for him participating in summer league.
“In the NBA, there is more time to spend individually as practice to work individually,” he said. “All the coaches, all the staff are showing interest in you, and I think my developments are going to be easier if I come here right away, so that’s why it’s going to be easier for me.”
Despite having wrapped up the strongest campaign of his career just five weeks ago, Korkmaz expects to be well-rested and ready for whatever run he receives over the next week and a half. He said Wednesday he would feel comfortable playing multiple positions, whether it be shooting guard or small forward, maybe even a little point guard.
Those matters, Korkmaz rightly noted, will ultimately work themselves out on the court. In the meantime, he seemed more than content to focus on the big picture significance surrounding Wednesday, and his arrival at a major life moment.
“It was my dream to be an NBA player,” he said. “Dreams come true.”
Fultz Focused on Defense
By all accounts, Markelle Fultz’s professional debut in Monday’s Utah Jazz Summer League opener was a sound effort. He paced the Sixers with 17 points, and looked comfortable for most of the evening.
Heading into his second summer league outing Wednesday, the 2017 No. 1 pick indicated his approach won’t be changing.
“Just going in, looking to give my all, working on things I need to work on from last game, which is a little bit of defensive stuff, and controlling my plays and having fun,” Fultz said at shootaround, when asked about his mindset.
In Utah, the Fultz and the Sixers will be facing an opponent Wednesday coming off a convincing 87-74 victory over San Antonio. The Jazz’s young backcourt duo of Dante Exum, chosen fifth in the 2014 draft, and Donovan Mitchell, this year’s No. 13, combined to score 41 points.
“It’s definitely a great chance to see where I’m at,” said Fultz. “Exum played like three years, so that’s good competition. He’s pretty much a vet, and I know they’re going to play hard and physical, so it’s another chance to see what I need to work on, and what I’m good at.”
Brown Arrives in Salt Lake City
On Tuesday, in observance of the Fourth of July, no games were played in the Utah Jazz Summer League.
Still, the Sixers opted to put in some work, conducting an hour-long practice at the University of Utah. There to observe the session was Brett Brown, making his first appearance around the team in Salt Lake City.
Billy Lange, the Sixers’ assistant assigned to lead the club in Jazz Summer League, was happy to have his boss around.
“I respect the heck out of Brett Brown,” said Lange. “I love him – he’s been a great mentor. He allows our coaches to grow, he talks to us about things that he wants us to experiment with. He just uses this time to touch players, and really dig in on the relational side of their development.”