Chicago Bulls: Projecting the regular season 15-man rotation

Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Projecting Chicago Bulls rotation for regular season

Starting power forward: Lauri Markkanen

All eyes fell on the contract extension talks that ultimately fell through with the Bulls fourth-year former Arizona Wildcats power forward Markkanen entering this regular season slate. Markkanen was eligible to receive an extension as he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, but he and the front office didn’t appear to be on the same page.

While the fact that Karnisovas, general manager Marc Eversley, and Markkanen didn’t agree to a contract extension entering this season doesn’t mean he won’t be back for the 2021-22 campaign. But the emphasis for that focus is placed way too far out into the future compared to where Markkanen needs to have his mindset right now.

Markkanen needs to bounce back this season in a big way, as the level of reliance from Donovan and the Bulls coaching staff on his ability will be high at the outset.

During the shortened 2019-20 regular season, Markkanen played in 50 games for the Bulls (all of which he started in). And he averaged 14.7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks. Markkanen shot 42.4 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Basketball-Reference projects Markkanen to average 19.1 points per 36 minutes, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocks, during the 2020-21 season. And he’s projected to shoot 43.9 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 84.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Markkanen played in just shy of 30 minutes per game last season. That mark should stay around the same this season, as long as he’s able to stay healthy most of the way.