For the last three years, the Chicago Bulls have struggled to even challenge for a playoff spot. They’ve missed the postseason during that period and have seen some of their young stars struggle due to injury.
One of those promising young players is Lauri Markkanen.
The seventh pick of the 2017 NBA draft had an impressive campaign as a rookie averaging 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and played 68 games. He was selected in the All Rookie First Team and was part of the Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge in the 2018 All-Star weekend.
He then followed it up with a very promising performance the next year by putting up close to a double-double with 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds but the injuries started to show and he only got to play 52 games that season.
His impressive performance still allowed him to be selected in the Team World once again in the 2019 All-Star Weekend as a sophomore.
Last season was his worst campaign as he only got to play 50 games and only averaged 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds due to a string of injuries that forced him to be on the sidelines a lot.
The 23-year-old Finnish forward has shown the potential to become a great forward in the league in the past few years. A seven-foot-tall forward that can shoot from the perimeter, has an inside game and active on the boards is always a prime asset.
However, injuries have slowed him down and gave critics and fans a reason to doubt him.
The Bulls, since acquiring Zach LaVine, have positioned him to be the main guy of the team as his scoring ability raised him to that borderline All-Star level.
Originally, Markkanen was supposed to be in that position but because of injury reasons it was taken away from him. But it seems like being the second star of a young team could be a better situation for him.
This season, the Arizona University product is looking like he could have a resurgence.
Although, he has only played seven games this season as he suffered an ankle injury early on, Markkanen is showing great basketball every time he’s on the floor.
Markkanen is currently averaging 19.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists in 48.1% shooting at the field, 41.0% from the three-point line.
In a recent game against Dallas, the third year forward put up a team-high 29 points along with 10 rebounds in 10-19 shooting at the field.
He led Chicago into a 117-101 win as they survived Luka Dončić’s triple-double performance of 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists. Markkanen also out played Kristaps Porziņģis who finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.
He followed that up with 18 points, seven rebounds and two steals against Houston while shooting 4 of 11 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4 of 4 from the charity stripe.
Chicago is currently 11th in the East with a 6-8 record. Cleveland and Atlanta hold the seventh and eighth spots with a 6-7 record.
The Bulls have found their main guy in LaVine and with Markkanen slowly reaching his potential, they could have a young and dangerous dynamic duo if both men would be consistent and healthy this season.
The Bulls play the Hornets next on Saturday at 8:30 AM Manila time.
Do you think Markkanen can be consistent this season? Sound off in the comment section!