Future Watch: Lauri Markkanen Rookie Basketball Cards, Bulls

Future Watch: Lauri Markkanen Rookie Basketball Cards, BullsFuture Watch: Lauri Markkanen Rookie Basketball Cards, Bulls – There’s no doubting it, the NBA has the most international reach of the four major American sports leagues. The league’s global reach has given players from nations all over the world the dream of playing NBA basketball. This includes Finland, a nation of 5.5 million people. Roughly the same as the state of Colorado. Only two Finnish players have played in the NBA, but that changed in 2017 with seventh overall pick Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen was originally drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he was traded to the Chicago Bulls on draft day. With the Bulls heading towards a full rebuild, the rookie is already making his mark on the team.

Son of former Kansas Jayhawk Pekka Markkanen, Lauri has basketball in his DNA. At 15, he was already ranking highly at FIBA Europe junior competitions. His career scoring average of 15.6 points per game while shooting 41% from behind the arc earned him NBA attention. He could have easily declared for the draft as an international prospect and entered the league in 2016. Instead, he decided to play NCAA Basketball for the Arizona Wildcats.

Markkanen boosted his NBA draft stock during his only year with the Wildcats. The 7-footer was a man among boys in the Pac-12, earning numerous conference honors including first team all Pac-12. His most impressive performance game against rival Arizona State, where he scored a career high 30 points on 12-of-18 shots. Markkanen finished his college career with per game averages of 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds with a 42% shooting rate from behind the arc. He entered the 2017 NBA draft as a surefire top-10 pick.

Modern NBA teams want their power forwards to shoot the three. Markkanen has the ability to do that at an elite level. In college, he showed a great ability to step into his shots and set his feet quickly on the perimeter. He isn’t the most athletically gifted, but he uses his size well to create shots all over the floor. Currently, he’s an average rebounder mostly relying on his height to grab boards. It goes without saying, he’ll need to add strength to defend at the NBA level.

Through Chicago’s 19 games this season, Markkanen has started in every one of them. He is currently averaging 14.3 points over 30.6 minutes per game. His most impressive trait so far has been his three-point shooting. Despite an average 34% shooting rate from downtown, he’s making 2.5 shots on 7.2 attempts per game. Coach Fred Hoiberg is letting Lauri shoot the three, and for a rebuilding team with no playoff aspirations, that’s a good thing. Markkanen will get every opportunity to grow this season and there’s no doubt we’ll see some impressive scoring performances moving forward. He has a long way to go before he’s considered the next Dirk Nowitzki, but there’s a lot to like about Lauri’s game right now.

Lauri Markkanen already has some great autographed rookie cards in the market. They can be found in 2017 Panini Contenders Collegiate Draft Picks Basketball. As a top draft pick, collectors can be assured to find NBA licensed rookie cards of Markkanen in the complete portfolio of 2017-18 Panini NBA basketball card products during the 2017-18 NBA season.

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James Gale