Markkanen appeared in 51 of the Bulls' 72 games during the 2020-21 regular season, though his role changed as the season progressed. The four-year veteran began the season in the starting lineup and kept his role until the end of March, but he made just one start from the beginning of April onwards. His best game of the season came on January 30, as he recorded a season-high 31 points against the Portland Trail Blazers. Another impressive performance was his effort on December 23 against the Atlanta Hawks, when he finished with 21 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals. Markkanen had 10 games with at least 20 points, but he surpassed the 25-point plateau three times -- none since the beginning of February. Other season-high marks for the former Arizona standout were 11 rebounds, four assists (twice), three steals, and two blocks (three times). He also delivered five games with at least eight rebounds, 10 games with two or more assists, three games with multiple steals, and three games with multiple blocks. The 2017 first-round pick ended the 2020-21 season averaging 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.3 blocks across 25.8 minutes per game, but the dip in numbers can be explained by his mid-season role change. He shot 48.0 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from three-point range -- both were career-best figures for him. Markkanen also converted 82.6 percent of his free throws.2019
In his third season in the Association, Markkanen appeared in 50 out of 65 possible games for Chicago during the coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 season. For the season, he averaged 14.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and a career-high 1.5 assists in 29.8 minutes per game. Markkanen started all 50 games in which he appeared. He shot 42.5 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line. On opening night, Oct. 23, Markkanen scored a career-best matching 35 points and also delivered 17 rebounds, two assists and a steal during a close loss at Charlotte. On Dec. 14, the power forward again grabbed a season-high matching 17 boards, plus 13 points, in a home win over the Clippers. Markkanen had three double-doubles during the season. Markkanen posted 10 games with at least 20 points, four games with at least 10 rebounds and 21 games with multiple assists. Markkanen's longest streak with at least 10 points was 21 games from Nov. 29 through Jan. 11. During that stretch, he averaged 17.0 points on 12.9 shots, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 31.2 minutes. In the seven games that Markkanen saw at least 36 minutes, he averaged 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals. The young power forward missed 15 games from late January to early March due to a pelvis injury.2018
A 7-footer with a deft touch from the outside, Markkanen has quickly established himself as one of the NBA's best shooting big men. While his freshman season was impressive (Markkanen was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2017-18) his 2018-19 sophomore season was even better. The University of Arizona product became the first player in league history to average 18 points (18.7), nine rebounds (9.0) and two three-pointers (2.3) at age 21 or younger. Markkanen fought through a few injuries in 2018-19. He missed Chicago's first 30 games due to an elbow sprain and was rested for the Bulls' final seven games due to a combination of illness and fatigue. In between, the young Finnish star was stellar. The highlight of his season was a month-long stretch from Feb. 2 to Mar. 1 in which Markkanen averaged 26.5 points and 12.6 rebounds over an 11-game span. For the season, Markkanen shot an excellent 87.2 percent from the free-throw line. He also blocked at least two shots on five separate occasions.2017
Selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves, Markkanen was traded on draft night to the Bulls as part of the Jimmy Butler trade. He enjoyed a strong rookie campaign with Chicago, starting all 68 of his appearances. The 20-year-old Finn averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds on 43.4 percent shooting in 2017-18. He also shot 36.2 percent on 3-point attempts. The 7-footer notched double-digit points in 60 of his 68 games, including a season-high 33 points with 10 rebounds against the Knicks on Jan. 10. That effort came shortly after his other 30-point performance of the season, a 32-point explosion against Indiana on Dec. 29. In an eight-game stretch including those two high-scoring affairs, Markkanen averaged 20.3 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 49.2 percent from beyond the arc. He pulled down a season-high 17 rebounds against the Pelicans on Jan. 22, adding 14 points with a steal and two blocks. That was one of his 14 double-doubles on the season. Markkanen closed out the season on a hot streak, scoring 20 or more points in four of his last five games. He averaged 19.4 points on 50.8 percent shooting -- including 58.1 percent from downtown -- during that stretch.