A player we covered in significant detail earlier this season, Furkan Korkmaz's season ended in disappointment as Anadolu Efes fell to Fenerbahce Ulker in the Turkish League finals and failed to advance past the top-16 round of the Euroleague. The immense pressure, and ultimately turmoil, surrounding the teamthey parted ways with legendary Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic in late April, caused his minutes to decrease marginally, and contributed to his stock stagnating among NBA scouts. He surprised many by electing to keep his name in the draft at the June 13th deadline, as his camp had told some NBA teams he is looking for a promise in the lottery in order to stay in, which he ultimately did not receive.
Averaging 4.3 points over 11.5 minutes per game against some of the top competition in the world outside of the NBA, the 18-year-old shooting guard didn't have another outburst like he did when he scored 25 points in 27 minutes against Turk Telekom Ankara, but had his moments filling his relatively minor role down the stretch, reinforcing much of what scouts already knew about him.
One of just seven players under the age of 19 to see more than garbage time minutes in the Euroleague this season along with Luka Doncic, Dzanan Musa, Dragan Bender, Lovro Mazalin, Vassilis Charalampopoulos, and Borisa Simanic, Korkmaz has been one of the more productive teenagers in the Europe's top competition each of the last two seasons. The tall, skilled wing shot the ball well both off the catch and off the dribble this season, helping Jon Diebler and Dario Saric spread the floor from the wing for the likes of Jayson Granger and Thomas Heurtel at the guard spots and Derrick Brown, Bryant Dunston, and Alex Tyus up front on a deep, talented Anadolu Efes team.
Doing most of his damage in spot up situations, Korkmaz may lack strength and a degree of creativity off the dribble at the moment, but he has an obvious NBA skill in his ability to hit shots from the perimeter, where he posts impressive percentages overall and runs particularly hot at times. He's also a strong passer with an excellent feel for the game, contributing to his team's ball-movement with his court vision and showing some ability to create offense out of the pick and roll and closeout situations in different settings.
One of the more explosive scorers in FIBA Europe junior competition in recent years (career 25 points per-40, 56% TS%) the NBA team drafting Korkmaz will hope that he can offer some value as a roleplayer early on and potentially translate more of his scoring arsenal to the NBA game as his body fills out.
Possessing just average length for his size, a frame that is fairly narrow, more fluidity than explosiveness, and limitations defensively that kept him off the floor for extended stretches this season, there's some question as to just how much more Korkmaz's game will round out and what more he'd be able to bring to the table beyond his size, instincts, and terrific shooting ability in the long term.
He hasn't been able to break out of the one-dimensional role he's been pigeon-holed into at the senior level in Europe, and it remains to be seen if he'll be able to do so in the NBA, and how long that might take him.
Only turning 19 around a month after draft day, the young guard will have plenty of time to answer those questions. He figures to come off the board in the mid to late first round, which could cause some difficulties to pay off his onerous two million dollar buyout, but it's been rumored that that number may be negotiable ultimately depending on where he lands. He has been telling NBA teams that his goal is to come to the States as soon as possible and not be stashed in Turkey, which may discourage some teams with multiple picks from electing to pick him.
If that is the case, Korkmaz will join Enes Kanter, Ersan Ilyasova, and Omer Asik as active Turkish players in the NBA, and could become the first non-big man from his home country to play in the NBA since Ibrahim Kutluay joined the SuperSonics playing 12 minutes in the 2004-205 season in the middle of his career throughout Europe (unless Cedi Osman beats him to it). Korkmaz represents the first player in a new wave from the Mediterranean nation whose league has been of the most improved in terms of quality of competition in all of Europe over the last decade.