Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen puts on a display with 360-windmill

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /

It looks like the Chicago Bulls 23-year-old Finnish seven-footer and power forward Lauri Markkanen is playing well in highlights from group workouts.

Group workouts are now officially back up and running for the Chicago Bulls, and their social media team is giving up a few good glimpses into what’s happening at practice each passing week. The Bulls started back up in voluntary group workouts last month, and it appears that most of their players are back at the Advocate Center in Chicago to get things up and running.

This is really the first set of group basketball activities for the Bulls since mid-March. The 2019-20 regular season was called to a premature end back in March in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. And all that Bulls players could do during the pause was get workouts in on their own. But even that could vary depending on where they lived.

There’s a few key Bulls players to watch in group workouts for the remainder of the offseason. A couple of key pieces of the young core didn’t have their best showing for most of the 2019-20 season. That includes the likes of power forward Lauri Markkanen, center Wendell Carter Jr., and small forward Chandler Hutchison. Even small forward Otto Porter Jr. wasn’t all he’s hyped up to be during the 2019-20 season.

A key focus for the Bulls this offseason in particular is the to-be fourth-year seven-footer and former Arizona Wildcat Markkanen. And it looks like Markkanen is getting part of his game back in group workouts/training camp. In a short highlight video that was posted on the Bulls team Twitter page on Oct. 6, Markkanen showed off some good shooting in a scrimmage and an impressive 360-windmill dunk.

We don’t really think of Markkanen as a high-flying dunker, but he surely looked like one in this video. Granted getting to the rim is a bit easier for a seven-footer than the average person (or even the average NBA player).

In his worst season in the NBA to date, Markkanen had a roller coaster ride of a 2019-20 season. He played in 50 games during the shortened 2019-20 regular season for the Bulls (all of which he started in). Markkanen averaged 14.7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks. He shot 42.5 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line.

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The Bulls need Markkanen to really step up in the final year of his rookie contract. If he’s not able to take a major leap forward next season, then he might not be returning to Chicago heading into the 2021 offseason.