Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen

24-Year-Old ForwardF
Cleveland Cavaliers
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Markkanen saw his workload reduced for the second season in a row in 2020-21, and his health also remained an issue. Markkanen has appeared in just 153 games over the past three seasons. He hit career lows with 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds, though he did reach career highs in field-goal percentage (48.0) and three-point percentage (40.2). He'll be joining a new team in 2020-21, as he was part of a sign-and-trade that landed him in Cleveland on a four-year, $64 million contract. Given the size of his contract, it seems possible Markkanen will start at power forward, even if that means bringing the No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley or Kevin Love off the bench. The other option to get Markkanen in the starting lineup would be trying to play him at small forward, but that's something he's done very little of in the past. That would also result in kicking Isaac Okoro -- the fifth pick from last year -- to the bench, though it'd result in less backlash from the fanbase. Regardless, Markkanen should be in line to see minutes anywhere from the high-20s to the mid-30s on the Cavaliers depending on how he produces. He should be the team's No. 3 option at worst at any given time, and that could improve to No. 2 or even No. 1 if he sees minutes with the bench unit. Ultimately, this is a fresh start for Markkanen, and while it may not be the smoothest transition into a new role, it certainly has potential on the rebuilding Cavs. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $67 million contract with Cleveland in August of 2021.
Personal Bio

Lauri Elias Markkanen was born in Vantaa, Finland in 1997 to Pekka and Riikka Markkanen. His father Pekka attended the University of Kansas in 1989-90 and then played professionally in Finland. As a teenager, the younger Markkanen saw time at the junior level for HoNsU in Jyvaskyla. He then moved on to HBA-Marsky in the second-tier Finnish league before leaving for the University of Arizona in 2016. Markkanen has represented Finland in many international events, with his most notable accomplishments finishing as leading scorer at both the 2015 U18 Euros and 2016 U20 Euros. He has been actively involved with eco-friendly causes raising awareness for climate change. You can follow Markkanen on Twitter (@MarkkanenLauri) and Instagram (@laurimarkkanen).

College/International Summary

It did not take long for Markkanen to establish himself as a go-to player for coach Sean Miller at Arizona. The Finnish seven-footer scored at least 13 points in his first nine games, including the first of his six double-doubles for the season. He helped the Wildcats beat Michigan State and Texas A&M prior to the Pac-12 Conference schedule. Markkanen's production did not slow down against conference foes. He had a string of 20-point games in wins over Colorado, Arizona State and USC, including a career-high 30 points in the win over the rival Sun Devils. Despite slumping briefly in early February with four straight single-point efforts, the towering forward rebounded late in conference play and kept the momentum through the postseason. He helped Arizona win the Pac-12 Conference Tournament by averaging 20.0 points. The squad advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over North Dakota and Saint Mary's. Markkanen averaged 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in that pair of victories. The Wildcat season ended against Xavier. Markkanen then announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft after the season.

Draws start at small forward
FCleveland Cavaliers
October 15, 2021
Markkanen will start the Cavaliers' final preseason game Friday at small forward, Chris Fedor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
ANALYSIS
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been intrigued by the way the Cavaliers offense looks with the seven-footer at small forward and will have one more look at the lineup before the regular season begins. The former Bull excelled at his new position -- posting 18 points in 26 minutes -- against his old team during Sunday's loss.
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Past Season Summaries
2020

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.

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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
Markkanen disappointingly saw a dropoff in production during his third season in the league, posting career lows in points (14.7), rebounds (6.3) and field goal percentage (42.5). To add to that, injuries have slowed his progress, as he's missed time in each season thus far. It could be a make-or-break year for Markkanen in Chicago, and it'll be interesting to see if he's able to thrive alongside center Wendell Carter and shoot-first guards Coby White and Zach LaVine. The 23-year-old will be looking for a bounce-back under new coach Billy Donovan, who will likely want to fully utilize the 7-footer's diverse offensive talents. Markkanen's range is a much sought-after quality for big men in the modern game, and he averaged 6.3 three-point attempts per while firing at a decent 34.4 percent clip last season. If he's able to consistently make threes, rebound and stay healthy, the ceiling appears high for Markkanen under his new coach.
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.
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
Starting Sunday
FCleveland Cavaliers
October 10, 2021
Markkanen is starting Sunday's preseason game versus Chicago, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic reports.
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Scores 13 in preseason opener
FCleveland Cavaliers
October 5, 2021
Markkanen posted 13 points (4-10 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-4 FT), four rebounds and one steal in 16 minutes during Tuesday's 131-95 preseason loss to the Bulls.
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Traded to Cleveland
FChicago Bulls
August 27, 2021
Markkanen was traded to Cleveland on Friday as part of a three-team deal that sent Larry Nance to Portland and Derrick Jones -- along with a first-round pick -- to Chicago, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
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Extended qualifying offer
FChicago Bulls
July 30, 2021
Markkanen was extended a qualifying offer by the Bulls on Friday, making him a restricted free agent, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
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Scores 17 in spot start
FChicago Bulls
May 17, 2021
Markkanen had 17 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT), five rebounds and an assist across 25 minutes in Sunday's win over the Bucks.
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