Chicago Bulls: 3 players who improved their stock in training camp

Coby White, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Coby White, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /
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Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

1) Chicago Bulls trending up after workouts: Lauri Markkanen

About the most important player that’s a key part of this young core that needs to bounce back this offseason, and continue that heading into the 2020-21 season, is the former Arizona Wildcats seven-footer and power forward Markkanen. The third seventh overall draft pick of the Bulls in the last three years is about to enter the final year of his rookie contract.

What makes this offseason so important for Markkanen is that it could determine his career path, and trajectory with the Bulls, starting at the outset of the 2020-21 season. Markkanen could be on the trade block for the Bulls in the very near future if he can’t find a firm place to contribute value on a consistent basis with this starting five.

Markkanen also just has too much potential to put it to waste. That’s likely how the new look front office regime of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley feels for the Bulls too.

At least there was a tad bit more durability that Markkanen showed during the shortened 2019-20 regular season, where he started in all 50 games he played in. He only missed 15 of 65 games in the season that was.

In those 50 games played, 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.

It is a good sign that Markkanen looked spry in the highlights and reports we did see and hear out of group workouts. If nothing else, seeing a Markkanen with confidence and good bounce in his step is something that is somewhat rare of late for this Bulls fan base. He just didn’t look right for much of the 2019-20 season.

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His third year in the NBA was crucial for Markkanen, but the fourth year will actually wind up being more important. Getting some momentum built in group workouts was definitely a step in the right direction, but we’ll see where he goes from here.