Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen
22-Year-Old ForwardF
Chicago Bulls
Out
Injury Pelvis
Est. Return 3/2/2020
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Though Markkanen has struggled to stay healthy in his first two seasons, totaling only 120 games played, his time on the floor has been impressive. The No. 7 overall pick in 2017, Markkanen set career highs nearly across the board during his sophomore campaign. Notably, he became the first player in NBA history to average at least 18 points, 9 rebounds and 2 three-pointers at 21 years old or younger. While the Bulls signed Thaddeus Young to shore up frontcourt depth, Markkanen is still in line to start at power forward and see 30-plus minutes per game. It seems unlikely the 7-footer will ever be a force defensively or as a passer, but his upside as a scoring big with great rebounding ability is undeniable. In Markkanen's 52 appearances last season, he racked up eight 30-point games, 20 contests with at least 10 rebounds and five performances with five made threes. But he's not just a stretch-big. Markkanen has shown aggressiveness, making 3.3 free-throws per game last season. Only three other players 6-foot-10 or taller in 2018-19 converted at least 2 threes and 3 free-throws per game (Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari). All things considered, Markkanen looks to be on track to become one of the NBA's top power forwards sooner than later. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $8.36 million contract with the Bulls in July of 2017. Bulls exercised $5.3 million team option for 2019-20 in October of 2018. Bulls exercised $6.73 million team option for 2020-21 in October of 2019.
Unlikely to play until March
FChicago Bulls
Pelvis
February 17, 2020
Coach Jim Boylen said last week that Markkanen (pelvis) is behind injured teammates Otto Porter (foot) and Wendell Carter (ankle) in the players' respective rehab programs, Jamal Collier of the Chicago Tribune reports. Boylen is optimistic that Markkanen is on track to return at some point around the start of March.
ANALYSIS
Of the three players, Markkanen appears to be dealing with the least significant injury -- a right pelvic stress reaction -- but the Bulls have elected to hold him out for multiple weeks to prevent the issue from worsening. Markkanen had already been playing through an ankle injury before he was shut down in late January, so the Bulls don't have much incentive to run the third-year big man out there at less than 100 percent in the midst of a non-contending season. Assuming Markkanen heals as expected during his prolonged rest, he should be cleared for about a month's worth of game action before the season ends.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
The seventh overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markkanen wasted no time bursting onto the scene for the Bulls. He started all 68 games he appeared in, led Chicago in rebounds per game (7.5), had the third-highest scoring average on the team (15.2) of everyone who saw at least 24 games with the club, and became the fastest player in NBA history to 100 made three-pointers. The sky seems to be the limit for the 21-year-old, who also recorded 14 double-doubles and two 30-point games. The addition of Jabari Parker via free agency and Wendell Carter through the draft gives Markkanen some more frontcourt competition, though it’s hard to imagine Markkanen getting the short end of the stick. Though he missed a handful of games to due nagging back spasms towards the end of the season, it’s tough to judge the seriousness of the issue, as the Bulls were more than willing to sit key players in order to secure a higher draft pick. So, in evaluating his Fantasy stock for 2018-19, those absences can arguably be ignored.
Born in Finland, Markkanen opted to come Stateside for his collegiate career, but spent just one standout season in Arizona before declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft. With Arizona, the seven-foot big man showed an impressive jump shot for his size, shooting 49.2 percent from the field, which translated to a team-high 20.2 points per game. Markkanen was also able to hit from the perimeter with a 42.3 percent clip from the three-point line, giving him the size and offensive skill set that's highly coveted in today's NBA. That prompted the Bulls to select Markkanen with the seventh overall pick of this year's draft. He's heading into one of the more beneficial environments of this year's rookie class, as the Bulls are in full rebuild mode. They traded away superstar Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves and could potentially part with Dwyane Wade as well, in what appears to be a youth movement in Chicago. Markkanen is a candidate to immediately jump into the starting lineup as a stretch-four with his shooting ability. While he's got a ton of work to do defensively and needs to bulk up in order to have a chance on the boards against some of the bigger power forwards in the league, Markkanen will still be one of the more intriguing rookies due to his offensive ability and opportunity for playing time in the frontcourt. Markkanen will have to hold of Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis for rights to a starter's job, but look for his role to ultimately expand as the year goes on. Markkanen could be worth taking a flier on in later rounds of deeper leagues, as the Bulls are fully expected to commit to his development as one of the young building blocks for the future.
More Fantasy News
Out at least one month
FChicago Bulls
Pelvis
January 24, 2020
Markkanen will be out for 4-to-6 weeks after an MRI taken Thursday revealed a stress reaction in his right pelvis.
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Back on injury report
FChicago Bulls
Ankle
January 23, 2020
Markkanen is being deemed probable for Friday's game against Sacramento due to a left ankle sprain.
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Puts up 21 points in win
FChicago Bulls
January 22, 2020
Markkanen generated 21 points (6-14 FG, 4-10 3Pt, 5-6 FT), six rebounds, an assist and a steal across 34 minutes in Wednesday's 117-110 win over the Timberwolves.
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Starting Wednesday
FChicago Bulls
January 22, 2020
Markkanen (ankle) will start Wednesday's game against Minnesota, Chuck Swirsky of the Bulls Radio Network reports.
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Probable again Wednesday
FChicago Bulls
Ankle
January 21, 2020
Markkanen is probable for Wednesday's game against Minnesota due to a left ankle sprain.
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