By Ben Sullivan

The Sixers don’t lead the NBA in much, though they are neck and neck with the dreadful, overpaid New York Knicks in the race for the most losses.

And they are near the bottom of the league in most everything.

But rebounding has been one of their biggest issues. The Sixers rank 28th in the league in defensive rebounds per game, and 24th in defensive rebounding percentage, and rookie Nerlens Noel leads the team with 7.1 per game.

This is where Furkan Aldemir (photo above) comes in.

Michael Carter-Williams is an excellent rebounder the point, and Noel has had double-digit games. Henry Sims isn’t good for a center.

Aldemir is a different story. As a 6-9, 225-pound power forward, Aldemir’s size doesn’t exactly scream “power rebounder.” However, Aldemir attacks the glass consistently thanks to great instincts and positioning. Aldemir is great at leveraging position down low, using his strong lower body to create space on the baseline, and it makes him a very talented space-eater down low. That was a calling card for him at Galatasaray, where he averaged 11.8 rebounds per 36 minutes over his four-year career.

The Turkish big man’s rebounding has been just as good through seven games in the NBA. While he’s only played 70 minutes so far, which is a small sample size, Aldemir is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game and posting a total rebounding percentage of 23.5 percent, the highest on the team. His defensive rebounding percentage is at 29.7 percent, which is even better. Overall, Aldemir, known as “Mr. Rebound” in Turkey, is grabbing 61.2 percent of available rebounds, and has certainly lived up to that moniker’s billing.


The next step for Aldemir will be proving he’s worth earning minutes next to Sims and Noel in regular lineups. The most time Aldemir has spent so far next to either of these two in a lineup is four minutes, and it seems like Brett Brown is more intent on keeping Aldemir in bench-heavy units while Sims and Noel sit. So far the Sixers are 15 points per 100 possessions worse overall with Aldemir on the floor, as the defense seems to die with him out there. That could be sample size, though, and means that maybe an Aldemir/Noel front court could work, although neither can score.

It will be interesting to see how the Sixers continue to use Aldemir in the coming weeks, as the team continues to integrate him into the lineup. In limited minutes he’s shown to be an excellent rebounder, and there’s reason to believe that he can turn into a useful two-way player due to his rebounding skill. Aldemir’s been a major bright spot for the team this season, and it’s good to have him around.

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