The Chicago Bulls selected Lauri Markkanen seventh overall in the 2017 NBA Draft and have been on a rollercoaster of an experience with the sharpshooting big man since. The 2020-21 NBA season was more of the up and down experience that has become all too familiar for Bulls fans.
Not only did the team pass on a few certified studs for Markkanen, it also appears that his time with the Bulls is coming to an end. That is looking ahead, though. Here we are recapping and grading his fourth year in the NBA.
Things did not go how either Markkanen or the Bulls had hoped entering the season. He set a number of career lows in his fourth NBA season and eventually forced head coach Billy Donovan to use him in a lesser role because of the roster around him.
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The one thing Markkanen has shown he can provide is offense, and the team simply needed defense. Not to mention the fact that his offense was not what anyone would have hoped for from a fourth-year player that was a lottery selection.
Lauri averaged career lows in the following categories: Minutes per game (25.8), rebounds per game (5.3), assists per game (0.9), blocks per game (0.3) and points per game (13.6). After showing regression during the shortened 2019-20 NBA season things went to a whole new level during the 2020-21 NBA season.
It became clear quickly that he wasn’t going to be a key contributor to the Bulls when they eventually do turn things around. His defense went from little to nonexistent, rebounding evaporated and he played the majority of the season with a lack of urgency and assertiveness.
I don’t want to overdue the negatives with Markkanen here. He is still very talented and has a bright future ahead of him if he lands with the right franchise this off-season.
As a member of the Bulls, though, there is no way to get around the fact that he disappointed in a major way during the 2020-21 season.
Chicago Bulls Player Grades, Lauri Markkanen: D+
Markkanen saves a little face on the mostly disappointing campaign by putting up career-high shooting numbers. That will help him find the next destination in his NBA career but is not enough for Bulls fans to overlook the lack of potential he has reached in Chicago.