Up until the NBA draft on June 23, the BSN Nuggets staff will review first-round prospects the Nuggets may target. We’ll look at their skill set, the role they will play in the league and how they could potentially fit in Denver.

Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Anadolu Efes (Turkey)

One of the more enticing international players in this year’s draft, Furkan Korkmaz, is very young at just 18-years-old and very tall at 6-foot-7 for a shooting guard. BSN Denver tracked down Korkmaz at a pre-draft workout last week, where he flashed deep range and rim-rattling dunks though he was a bit jet-lagged.

Korkmaz’s most NBA-ready skill is his spot-up shooting, but he’s also a decent playmaker with the ball in his hands. He kept his name in the draft, surprising some, but has made it clear he wants to play in the NBA right away. Reading between the lines, he may have gotten a guarantee from a team that they will bring him over for next season if they draft him. Might that team be the Nuggets?

Strengths

Korkmaz shot 42.3 percent from three for Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League, catching the eye of the many scouts that are looking for capable floor-spacers. He’s shown more potential as a spot-up shooter than a player who is going to consistently create his own shot, but he won’t turn 19 until July, giving him plenty of time to round out his attacking skills.

Korkmaz is not going to blow by a lot of defenders but can dribble and pass at a high level. He can make plays out of the pick-and-roll as the ball handler and make defenders pay for closing out too hard on him at the 3-point line. His court vision is advanced for an 18-year-old and he frequently finds open teammates on beautiful crosscourt passes.

Korkmaz will instantly add a deep shooting threat to any offense while keeping the ball moving when a good look isn’t there. As one of the top teenagers playing at the highest levels of European basketball, Korkmaz has the competitiveness that should carry over well to the NBA.

He told BSN Denver that the Nuggets would be a nice fit since they’ve invested so much in international talent in recent years. For that reason, along with the fact that Denver is in the market for draft-and-stash options, many forecasters predict he’ll wind up with the Nuggets.

Weaknesses

Korkmaz is listed at 185 pounds and looks even skinnier than that. Job number one for him upon entering the NBA is bulking up, which is always a dicey proposition for a player that already lacks elite quickness and explosion. His defense is a question mark, not surprising for his age and size, which could get ugly against NBA wings.

His wiry frame won’t do him any favors when trying to score at the rim or battle for rebounds. The team that drafts him will have a project on their hands as we won’t glimpse his real potential for at least three years.

Potential fit in Denver – The Nuggets could definitely use an efficient 3-point shooter like Korkmaz, even if can only contribute in small doses to begin with, and as I mentioned earlier, he’d fit in nicely with the international flavor of Denver’s roster. The Nuggets would also provide the right developmental environment for Korkmaz to grow his game as a pro. Denver will be hard-pressed to pass up on the young Turk with the No. 15 pick if he’s still available.

Current projection – Korkmaz is projected in mock drafts as high as No. 10 and as low as No. 23, which reveals both the uncertainty of this draft class and the mystery around his specific value. Look for him to go in the mid-teens, potentially to Denver at either 15 or 19.

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Dan Fatigato

Dan Fatigato grew up outside of Chicago in the midst of the Bulls championship runs. He moved to Austin, TX, in 2000 before attending CU-Boulder from 2003-07, where he fell in love with the Nuggets. At CU he served as the Sports Editor for the Campus Press and freelanced for the Boulder Daily Camera sports section. After seven years in the enterprise software industry, Fatigato has gone back to his sportswriting roots. Follow his NBA blog at www.downontheblock.co.