Chicago Bulls: Pros and cons of keeping Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /


There are some obvious pros to keeping Markkanen around. But the Bulls will really have to narrow down their decision making to figure out which move would be more beneficial for this reshaping rebuild over the long haul. Recently hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas might not have a more important personnel decision on the 15-man roster this coming offseason than what to do with Markkanen.

Pro #1: Subtle improving efficiencies on both ends of the floor

Although most of the all-encompassing advanced metrics for Markkanen dipped over the course of the last half-season, there are some areas of intrigue to look into. His true shooting percentage actually improved over each of the last two years. And his defensive box plus/minus rating, defensive rating, defensive win shares, free-throw attempt rate, steal rate, and assist rate all continue to rise.

Pro #2: Rare skill set and physical tools

The gifted physical tools of Markkanen are going to be a consistent argument in favor of any NBA team buying into his promise and potential. Markkanen looked like he could turn into a star with flashes like he showed at times during his rookie campaign, and in that special February 2019 run with the Bulls. Finding a seven-footer that can handle the ball like Markkanen with as pure of a shooting stroke at 7-foot and 240 pounds is not easy.

Pro #3: New head coach could mean more success

Of the three pros on this portion of the list, this is the most interesting one. If the Bulls do decide to part ways with head coach Jim Boylen, then it would likely benefit big men like Markkanen and second-year center Wendell Carter Jr. Markkanen is a rhythm shooter, but also a very injury prone player. The spotty minutes, playing through injury, and decreased scoring and field goal attempts per game showed that Boylen’s usage of Markkanen just didn’t make much sense in the season that is currently on pause.