Lauri Markkanen NBA Draft Profile


Lauri Markkanen, Freshman, Power Forward, Arizona



Lauri Markkanen could have been a relatively unknown international prospect a year ago but decided to attend Arizona to showcase his skills. His choice to play college basketball paid off as he grew into a top ten NBA Draft prospect. The Finland native is a unique seven-footer who is fluid on his feet and has a beautiful shooting stroke. At just 20 years old, Markkanen already has an excellent understanding for the game and should be able to immediately contribute offensively. NBA teams will love Markkanen’s potential as a stretch four at the next level.

Markkanen’s superb offensive game begins and ends with his jump shot. He hit 42.3% of his threes on 4.4 attempts per game. Markkanen has a textbook shooting stroke, getting his shot off quickly with no wasted motion. Much more than just a stand-still shooter, he can get his jumper off in just about every area of the game. He’s at his best when shooting off the catch, but is capable of dribbling into a pull-up. Markkanen is excellent at moving off-ball, positioning himself for easy, open shots. He can also be used in ball screens as a pick and pop weapon. Markkanen is comfortable attacking closeouts as well, where he can put the ball on the floor and dribble into a mid-range fade-away. He isn’t a polished playmaker with less than one assist per game, but he’s a smart player within an offense and doesn’t turn it over at high rate.

For as lethal as Markkanen can be as a jump shooter, he will need to improve his offensive versatility. He’s a decent athlete but lacks NBA-caliber strength and explosiveness. He will need to improve his toughness and quickness so he can spend some time playing in the mid-to-low post. He does have some face-up potential, but he’s best at getting to the rim when he already has a head of steam. His lack of length shows up around the rim as he doesn’t finish well in traffic. There is a concern that he plays too much like a guard in a seven-footer’s body. College defenses would often be content switching smaller players onto Markkanen since he doesn’t thrive in one-on-one situations and doesn’t have the post-game to make them pay. He did snag 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and averaged 4.4 FTA per game, so he does show potential to contribute in different ways on offense.

Defensively, Markkanen has a bit more work to do to make an impact at the next level. Being seven feet tall, Markkanen will be expected to protect the rim, which he isn’t capable of yet. He has average length and isn’t a great leaper which compromises his potential to be a rim protector and also dampers his ability to rebound well. He does have solid footwork and instincts to hold his own on the perimeter, which will be necessary as he projects to play a lot of power forward. He lacks the strength to defend the post and gives up a lot of space in the paint, which will impede his ability to play as a stretch center.


Final Projection:

Lauri Markkanen is a seven-footer with rare shooting ability who should fit perfectly in an NBA offense. He has a strong understanding of the game and is polished for someone his age. Markkanen will need to expand his game to avoid becoming a one-dimensional player. He will draw comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, but he must develop his mid-post game to even come close to playing at that level. Markkanen will also need to make an impact defensively to stay on the floor. He has the game of a stretch power forward, but at seven-feet tall, teams will want him to spend some time at center. He needs to add strength to his frame to survive in the post at the next level. In any event, Markkanen should have the shooting ability to stick in the league for a long time.



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