Bryan Colangelo and his group did more than make the right moves on draft night, he paved an important step towards 76er fans trusting him. For now.
We knew how the first two draft picks would pan out, and after that it was one of the more insane draft nights in recent memory, unexpected players getting traded, the Timberwolves became every basketball nerd’s league pass team for next season, and Boogie Cousins sub-tweeting because the Kings decided to draft two more centers to create what I selfishly hope will be an all Center lineup.
Having a head start with the collection of assets former General Manager Sam Hinkie left behind; 76er fans were bracing for the worst as Current General Manager Bryan Colangelo embarked on his first draft night with the team. We knew Simmons was going to be walking across the stage as the first overall pick (I did a deep dive piece on Simmons last month) , that much was obvious, but the Sixers were active trying to trade back into the top-10 offering anything from the 24th and 26th picks or Nerlans Noel/Jahlil Okafor, in the hopes that maybe Kris Dunn (A player I really wanted and is going to make Minnesota even more fun to watch) would fall to them at whatever pick they got in return.
Instead of going all in on a trade to get back into the top-10, Colangelo decided to stand pat, and now they appear to have gotten some great value with the 24th and 26th pick, selecting Timothe Luwawu and Furkan Korkmaz respectively.
Those picks illustrated the ideas the Sixers’ brass had. Luwawu and Korkmaz can shoot and are tall athletic wings with long wingspans, which are the type of players you need to surround Ben Simmons with.
Timothe Luwawu, isn’t just a name that sounds like an Unsullied Character in Game of Thrones, he was projected as late-lottery draft pick. DraftExpress had him listed as the 13th pick, and surprisingly fell all the way to the 24th pick. A French professional player who plays for the Mega Leks of the Serbian League, Luwawu is a 6-7 athletic wing with a 7’2 wingspan.
He can play above the rim and has a smooth style to how he runs the floor or pushes the ball, compare tape of Luwawu running the floor next to tape of a younger Paul George and you’ll see similarities in terms of how they move. He has improved his three point shooting over the last few seasons overseas to 38% which indicates he has potential as a 3 and D type of a player (a commodity that is not as abundant in the NBA as the average fan would think). Scouts say he is a good passer for the player he is, but I want to hold judgement on that until I see him pass at the NBA level, where the passing windows are tighter, and will close quicker thanks to lengthy long arms that are always waiting in the passing lanes.
He does need to refine his ball handling more, but his handle is serviceable enough to where he can effectively create in short space off the dribble to get his shot off or use his athleticism to get to the cup. The question is will he come over from overseas this year, either way the Sixers got great value at the number 24th pick. In the crammed film that I watched following the draft, he reminds me of Thabo Sefolosha if he had a pretty good jumper.
With the 26th pick the Sixers selected 18 year old Furkan Korkmaz, which makes him not only the second player named Furkan to play for the 76ers in the last three years, but he looks to be another athletic 6-7 wing that can shoot the ball. Korkmaz reminds me a little bit of Peja Stojakovic in terms of his shooting form, how he gets his shot off and how crafty he is using the shot fake. He doesn’t appear to be explosive laterally or with his first step but that explosiveness definitely doesn’t lack that in the leaping department. To boot, he really knows how to use his craftiness to throw up little floaters. He might be better served staying overseas for one year because he seems like a raw project (he turns 19 next month!) but if the financial issues did work out and he played for the 76ers this year, his growth would only be accelerated by playing with Ben Simmons.
By the way Korkmaz participated in a Dunk Contest overseas and dressed as Darth Vader for one of his dunks. This has nothing to do with the article, this is just awesome.
Overall the Sixers were one of 2 or 3 teams that totally dominated draft night. Not only did they nab a potential franchise player, they also got great value with the 24th and 26th getting guys that filled positions of need. Colangelo, dare I say, had a Hinkie-esqe draft. Stood pat on ridiculous trade propositions, got the best player available, and drafted some serious value later in the round. I’m not going to pull a Michael Wilbon and try to speak for all Philly fans, but draft night was also a big win in another way for Bryan Colangelo, because it was an important step in the path for Hinkie-truthers to trust him. At least for now.