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Don't overlook Aldemir

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: July 15, 2013

Most of the media attention surrounding Saturday’s trade with the Rockets centered around former first-round pick Royce White, but Sixers fans shouldn’t look past Furkan Aldemir, whose rights were also acquired as part of the deal.

Aldemir was selected 53rd overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 before having his rights dealt to the Rockets in a four-team trade two days later. The Turkish big man made his professional debut with his hometown team, Pınar Karşıyaka, at just 16 years of age. After spending his first two seasons with Karşıyaka (2007-09) as a reserve, the 6’9” Aldemir transitioned into a starting role during the 2009-10 season and made his presence felt immediately, leading the team in rebounding (8.0 rebounds per game) from 2009-11. In the summer of 2011, he signed a four-year deal with one of the Turkish Basketball League’s most successful clubs, Galatasaray Liv Hospital in Istanbul.

Unlike many young international NBA prospects, whose worth is often more a function of potential than of production, Aldemir has already established himself as one of Europe’s top rebounders. In just 17.0 minutes per game last season with Galatasaray, he averaged 5.1 points (68.5 FG%) and 6.9 rebounds, putting him on pace for 12.0 points and 16.2 rebounds per 40 minutes. His rebounding rate (0.41 per minute) was good for second-best in the TBL last season and his offensive rebounding rate (0.15 per minute) led the league.

It’s easy to see, then, why Sixers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie was part of not just one, but two trades for Aldemir over the last 12 months – one as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Rockets in 2012 and one with the Sixers last week.

During Hinkie’s eight seasons with the Rockets (2005-13), the Rockets enjoyed more success with second-round picks than perhaps any team in the NBA, acquiring the following second-round prospects – Steve Novak, Carl Landry, Luis Scola, Chase Budinger, and Chandler Parsons. 

“Every place you can find an edge, you should [take advantage of it],” Hinkie told Sixers.com earlier this summer. “The free agent market, the undrafted market, the D-League, international players, Americans playing overseas, international players playing in America, the second round... You should be looking for all those opportunities, finding whatever edge you can. 

“Often times, when you find an edge, it's not for very long. People figure it out, so you have to try and exploit it quickly, while you can.”

In the Sixers’ acquisition of Aldemir, Hinkie is attempting to do just that. 

The benefit of owning his rights, as opposed to those of an American-born draftee, is that 

the Sixers can allow the young big man to continue his development abroad while saving a roster spot and delaying the commencement of his NBA contract. 

In the meantime, Sixers fans should be sure to keep tabs on the talented big man, whose third season with Galatasaray begins this October.