LAS VEGAS — Some second-year players dread playing in the NBA Summer League. Not Furkan Korkmaz.
"I improved myself this summer," the 76ers reserve swingman said. "It's good for me to show how much I improved myself and what I improved.
"That [summer league] is going to be a really good example for me."
He scored 40 points as the Sixers opened the summer league with a 95-89 loss to Boston Celtics Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. The was third-highest single-game point total in the summer-league's history. The tournament will end July 17 with the championship game.
The 6-foot-7, 185-pounder was admittedly unprepared for last year's summer action. Back then, the Turkish player flew from Europe to Salt Lake City to sign his Sixers contract on July 4, 2017. The following night, he started in the team's Utah Summer League opener against the Jazz.
The team played two more games in Utah before traveling here to participate in the NBA Summer League. At times, he was passive and unsure of himself while trying to fit in with the summer squad.
"I was like really new here," Kurkmaz said. "I didn't know no one. I didn't know how I should play here.
"But now, I'm really confident, because this going to be my second [year] of summer-league games."
Korkmaz was a seldom-used rookie this past season, appearing in just 14 games. Some of that could be attributed to his missing 43 games because of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot. In the games he played, the 20-year-old averaged 1.6 points and 5.7 minutes. He scored a season-high five points twice.
To get valuable minutes, Korkmaz played nine games for the team's NBA G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31.9 minutes. His season-high point total in the G-League was 27.
Korkmaz recently returned from a two-game stint with the Turkish national team in FIBA World Cup qualifiers in his home country. The 2019 FIBA World Cup will be held Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, 2019, in China.
"Those [qualifying] games are really important for me, because I want to play in the World Cup," he said. "It's also important for my country to go and show up in the World Cup."
As an NBA player, he faced expectations to excel in those games. Korkmaz didn't disappoint. He had game highs of 21 points and three steals in an 80-66 victory over the Ukraine on June 28. Korkmaz followed that with a game-high 23 points Sunday in a 77-52 win over Sweden.
"Now, it's time for the summer league," he said. "I'm back with the team. So I'm really excited about the summer league."
Three of the Sixers' off-season moves became official on Friday.
JJ Redick signed a one-year, $12-to-$13 million deal to remain with the team. The Sixers trades with the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers were also finalized.
They agreed to send minimum cash considerations to the Nuggets in exchange for Wilson Chandler, a 2021 second-round pick and the right to swap 2022 second-round picks.
Meanwhile, back on June 20, the Sixers agreed to trade the 39th pick in the next day's draft to the Lakers for cash and a 2019 second-rounder via the Chicago Bulls.
The deals and moves couldn't become finalized until the conclusion of the NBA moratorium at noon.