Chicago Bulls: 3 takeaways from preseason opener loss to Rockets

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /
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Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

3) Takeaways from Chicago Bulls loss to Rockets

Lauri Markkanen played really well, expect for turnovers

The stat line that the fourth-year former Arizona Wildcats seven-footer and the 23-year-old power forward Lauri Markkanen looked pretty good in the Bulls preseason opener loss to the Rockets on Dec. 11. The four turnovers that Markkanen posted in this loss were a game-high. Although almost all of the Bulls starting five had a large number of turnovers.

Markkanen also registered 13 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block. And he shot an efficient 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. The two main problems for Markkanen in this game were his overall plus/minus on the floor (a -27 in this game) and taking care of the basketball against a defense that wasn’t too good last season.

But some part of the number of turnovers that Markkanen posted should be expected in such a long hiatus. At least he’s making these mistakes in the preseason and not in the playoffs.

A Bulls big man that had a bit more of a completely problematic stat line in this preseason game was the third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. WCJ got off to a really slow start this preseason, registering just four points, seven rebounds, two assists, three turnovers, no steals, and no blocks. And he shot a poor 1-of-7 from the field, 0-of-5 from beyond the arc, and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.

The fit for Markkanen in the new scheme under Donovan looks to be a bit more natural out of the gates than WCJ. But I’ll keep harping on the fact that Bulls fans shouldn’t overreact too much to a good or bad performance in a preseason opener after such a long hiatus from a key big man in this young core.