19 year-old 7’0″ big man Lauri Markkanen has declared for the NBA Draft on Thursday, during a press conference in Tuscon Arizona. The Former Arizona Wildcat led his team to a sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament, along with a 32-5 record in one season with them. Markkanen intends to sign an agent which will make him unable to return for another year.
Blessed 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/SsRQR1hkJK
— Lauri Markkanen (@MarkkanenLauri) March 30, 2017
Markkanen had a remarkable year, averaging 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 49.2% shooting from the field, and 42.3% from the three point arc. He was named to the Third Team All-American by USA Today, the Associated Press, NBC Sports, Sporting News, and NABC. He was a part of the All-Pac-12 First Team and was twice named the Pac 12 player of the week.
Markkanen has a large frame and can stretch the floor with his great shooting touch. He is also good on the defensive end with rim protection. Markkanen has plenty of potential, and will be a fun player to watch next year.
Lauri Markkanen: Wildcat for Life.
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) March 30, 2017
The following is from Scout.com:
“Lauri is as elite of a shooter as you’ll find at 7-feet outside of the NBA,” Scout national analyst Josh Gershon said.
“He’s not just a shooter,” he added. “He can put the ball on the ground, finish around the basket, is a plus athlete for his size and is an improved shot blocker with rebounding upside. He has one of the highest floors in the NBA Draft.”
The best NBA comparison for Markkanen is New York Knicks‘ big man Kristaps Porzingis. They are both from foreign countries and are very athletic big men who can stretch the floor and create space. They are the definition of the new shooting big men in the league.
Markkanen is a sure lottery pick in this year’s upcoming NBA Draft. Fansided.com has him going 11th overall in the draft, and BasketballInsiders.com has him going eight in the draft. The NBA Combine is May 9th through the 14th, so that will be a time for him to either raise his draft stock, or lower it.
Markkanen is a hard worker and loves the game of basketball. He will have a big impact on whichever team selects him.