Chicago Bulls: 3 players with the most to prove in Training Camp

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /
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Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

1) Chicago Bulls with most to prove in camp

player. Power Forward. 1. Age: 23. Lauri Markkanen. 24. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

Definitely the player among the Bulls projected starting five for next season that will have the most to prove out of the gates, even from the start of Training Camp and the preseason, is fourth-year seven-footer and former Arizona Wildcats power forward Lauri Markkanen. The 23-year-old former seventh overall pick of the Timberwolves (later traded to the Bulls) in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft definitely had an up and down run in the Windy City thus far.

There might not be more excitement and overall intrigue concerning the potential of any one player’s turnaround under the direction of Karnisovas and Donovan next season than there is surrounding Markkanen. The fit with Boylen and the front office regime of John Paxson and Gar Forman didn’t do Markkanen many favors last season.

Markkanen played in 50 games during the shortened 2019-20 regular season with the Bulls (all of which he started in). And that was actually the healthiest campaign that Markkanen had in his three years in the NBA to date. That is a good sign possibly of more consistent starts for him moving forward.

Moreover, last season he averaged 14.7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks. And Markkanen 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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Since Markkanen is entering the final year of his rookie contract next season, he does have to prove from the outset that he’s worth keeping around and possibly getting an extension for next offseason.