#PHILAfirst: Sixers Land International Prospects Late in First Round
PHILADELPHIA - Ben Simmons will go down as the 76ers’ top selection from the 2016 NBA Draft, but not their only one. The team also had two other choices to make at the back end of the first round.
With the 24th pick Thursday night, the Sixers landed Timothe Luwawu from France. The 6’7” tall, 205 pound guard has been involved in professional basketball since 2012, when he first appeared in a handful of games for Antibes of the National Basketball League of France.
This past season, Luwawu found himself in Serbia, where he suited up for KK Mega Basket. In 33 games, the 21-year old showed he could score, averaging 14.5 points in 30.1 minutes per game. He also accounted for 4.6 rebounds per contest, and connected on 63 three-point field goals, while shooting 35.8 percent from outside the arc. The past three years, Luwawu represented his native country in various FIBA junior basketball competitions.
Ten minutes after choosing Luwawu, the Sixers used the 26th pick on Furkan Korkmaz. Still only 18 years old (his birthday is next month), the Istanbul, Turkey native played for hometown Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League. If the name of the club sounds familiar, it should. Dario Saric, whom the Sixers acquired in draft two years ago, has been a member of Efes the past two seasons. Korkmaz produced for 4.3 points per game this campaign. Of note, however, is that he buried 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts (41-103 3fg).
“I think both players have the intention or desire to come over now,” Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo said Tuesday night. “At the end of the day, we’ll try to see what the best path was not only for the player, but for the organization.”
Colangelo indicated that young players like Luwawu and Korkmaz could benefit from being situated in an “integrated environment,” such as the one offered by the Sixers’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.
“Even if they come over and they’re not ready to play,” said Colangelo, “we’ll put them in position to develop their bodies. Both of them are younger, developing players, but they’ve been playing pro basketball for a while, so they’re probably more prepared than you think.”