The Runner Sports

Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen’s Potential Impact

During the 2017 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls decided to take Lauri Markkanen with the 7th pick via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that included rising star Jimmy Butler leaving. The Bulls are finally starting their official rebuild for the future, and along with Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, Markkanen is going to play a major role in the team’s future. Markkanen is a unique case in my eyes. Apparently, the Chicago Bulls decided to pick the 7-footer out of nowhere, as Lauri explained that he no idea that the Bulls were going to draft him. He didn’t work out with them, he didn’t have a draft interview with the team, so them selecting him with the 7th was indeed a shock. Though that was the case, that doesn’t mean that it was a bad pick.

When I look at Markkanen as a player, he seems to have the potential and skill to be one of the Bulls’ most promising young players within 2-3 years. He just recently turned 20 years old in May, and he seems to have such a maturity to his game. He is a very mobile big man standing 7’0, and coming out of college, he had one of the best three-point percentages in the entire nation at 42%. Not only was he among the elite his freshman year, when it came to shooting, statistically, he had the best shooting year in over 20 years when it came to 7-foot big men in college. Not only does he have elite shooting tools and mechanics, he has the unique ability to take his man off the dribble, where more times than not, he would have a speed and/or size advantage over his defender.

During the Summer League, and more importantly, the recent Eurobasket tournament, Markkanen displayed a healthy preview of what the Bulls are getting out of their young prospect. The NBA Summer League was when we first got glimpses of his talent. Though most people tend to not put much stock into Summer League performances, it serves a purpose of getting the young players used to the speed and physicality of the NBA game. So looking at him play with those things in mind, you can see Lauri Markkanen is a bit ahead of his time. Even against experienced, tougher competition in the Eurobasket tournament, as a 20-year-old, Markkanen knows how to make his presence felt.

He still has to become stronger as a big man, as he would get knocked out of position by bigger, more aggressive big men, but the kid knows how to compete. He knows how to use his size very well, and isn’t afraid of contact when going to the basket. Along with his 7’0 frame, he has a good amount of athleticism that he uses to grab offensive rebounds using pure effort and good timing. He doesn’t waste time if he has an opportunity to throw down a huge dunk, regardless of if someone is in his way or not. I think one of Markkanen’s best qualities is that when you watch him play, he seems to be focused and he wants to impact the game one way or another. He seems very aware of the advantages he has on the court, and he knows that when it comes to his offense, his jump shot is legit and defenders are going to have trouble containing his unique skill set.

Out of the Bulls’ recent draft picks, Lauri Markkanen has the most upside since they drafted Derrick Rose, and he will have plenty of opportunities to prove why the Chicago Bulls’ surprise pick was worth the gamble. He is going to be playing in a Fred Hoiberg system that is going to hopefully explore Lauri’s potential when it comes to his shooting and ability to score in a variety of ways. He will also be playing with other young, hungry talent that will also have a chance to show their worth, as they all try to grow as a team and make it back to the playoffs as true contenders in the near future.

Derrick Hicks

Hello, my name is Derrick Hicks from Chicago, and I just speak/write my mind on these crazy Bulls adventures.Please Enjoy!

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