SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For Furkan Korkmaz, it’s a rhythm thing.
The 76ers swingman will tell you there are different rhythms between starting and coming off the bench. In the starting lineup, the third-year veteran is more of a get-out-of-the-way type of player. He’s a fourth or fifth option while playing alongside the Sixers’ high-profile starters.
But as a reserve, things run through Korkmaz. He’s asked to be more aggressive, to provide an offensive spark.
“I think that’s why I like coming off the bench,” he said Thursday. “There’s more options for me.”
Korkmaz is having a career season, His scoring averaging (9.8 points), rebounds (2.3) and three-point percentage (.397) were all career highs heading into Thursday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center.
Yet, he’s had much more success coming off the bench. Kurkmaz averaged 8.5 points in his 12 starts, shooting just 33.9% on three-pointers. As a reserve, he averaged 10.1 points and shot 41.1% on three-pointers through 49 games.
His impact from the bench was obvious in consecutive games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls last month. He scored 31 points in a 118-111 victory over the Bulls at Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 9. That was two nights after Korkmaz scored a career-high 34 points in a 119-107 home win over the Grizzlies. He made 7-of-9 three-pointers in that game. As a result, Korkmaz joined former teammate JJ Redick as the only Sixers reserves to score 30-plus points in consecutive games since bench stats were first recorded during the 1970-71 season.
The Sixers inserted him in the starting lineup for a game after his effort against the Bulls. How did he respond? Korkmaz missed all five of his shots and was held scoreless in the 110-103 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He lacked aggressiveness while looking for the other starters to shoot.
But now, the Sixers look to have him in a role similar to the Clippers’ Lou Williams. The former Sixer is a three-time NBA sixth man of the year and provides instant offense off the bench.