Chicago Bulls: Markkanen on preliminary Finland roster for 2022 EuroBasket

Lauri Markkanen (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/Press Focus/MB Media/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/Press Focus/MB Media/Getty Images) /

The Finland National Team has Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen present on their preliminary 25-man roster for 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers.

The international hoops world was interrupted this year (as was essentially every single sport and professional sports league around the globe in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic), with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, getting pushed back to next summer. That will bring the Summer Olympics just one summer away from when the EuroBasket Qualifiers will take place in 2022. And one key Chicago Bulls power forward, 23-year-old Lauri Markkanen, that looks like he could be participating for his home country in the qualifiers.

Markkanen had a busy offseason already, that could get even more tightly packed in the near future.

As the sole Finnish player that is active in the NBA right now, Markkanen was the most notable name on the preliminary 25-man roster for the 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers for Finland (per report). If he wants to represent his country in the qualifiers in a little under two years, then Markkanen should be a shoe-in to make the final Finland roster for EuroBasket 2022.

The last EuroBasket Tournament that occurred was back in 2017, with Finland as one of the host countries. The next EuroBasket Tournament was supposed to occur a little bit under 12 months from now, in September 2021. But it was pushed back in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to give ample time for the now 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In EuroBasket 2017, Slovenia took first place led by the Miami Heat veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who wound up taking home the MVP honors from the tournament. Finland came in 11th place in the EuroBasket 2017 Tournament.

Markkanen was a key part of the 2017 EuroBasket Finland team, averaging 19.5 points per game, 5.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks. He played in six games in the actual 2017 EuroBasket Tournament for that 11th place Finnish squad.

While Markkanen was present on the FIBA World Cup qualifying team for Finland in 2019, they did not qualify for the actual tournament last summer.

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Finland is right in the thick of the qualifying standings right now (with games having gone on since 2017), with a handful of games remaining before this round of qualifiers ends in February 2021. The next scheduled game in qualifiers for Finland comes against Georgia on Nov. 27.