Wt: 225 pounds
2016-17 Stats: 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists
HOW HE OPERATES
Lauri Markkanen is the quintessential ‘new school’ big man, from an offensive standpoint. One of the best scoring bigs in the draft, he is very skilled on that end of the court, regularly shoots the 3-point shot and generally scores a bunch of points from all different angles. If you’re looking for a quick NBA comp, start with Houston’s Ryan Anderson. Although Markkanen has additional aspects to his game that Anderson, one of the NBA’s deadliest 3-point shooters, doesn’t.
In pick-and-roll situations, Markkanen is almost always going to fade out and look for the jumper. And they dropped in frequently. He made 47 percent of all of his jump shots, including 42 percent of his 3-point shots. But firing away from the 3-point line isn’t all Markkanen was capable of doing. After the catch on pick-and-pop circumstances, Markkanen could put the ball on the ground and drive to the rim with either hand. And he was good with both. At the rim he’d finish with either hand or a dunk. His post-up game, however, needs polish. He doesn’t seal off defenders with authority; many of his post catches came from lob passes over the top of defenders who would front him. But once he caught it, he made good on cashing the attempt in. He runs the court well in transition, but his finishing on the fly is an area he’ll need to improve.
Defensively, Markkanen is work in progress. He is not a shot-blocker or steals player; only had 19 blocks and 15 steals in his 37 games. He does have good feet; gets out well on hedges and jumps back to his man. His length makes it hard to finish over him, and he is very aware on defense. In the post, Markkanen gives good effort after the ball is caught, but will continue to work on not allowing the post player to get the position he wants from the start.
HIS BEST FIT
Markkanen’s best fit is next to a defensive-minded, shot-blocking center or on a team that is strong in perimeter defense and doesn’t put a ton of pressure on its bigs to protect the rim. Any team looking for offense punch from its power forward or center spot is a nice landing spot for him as well.