10 - Lauri Markkanen

7-0, 230 Power Forward
Arizona Freshman
05/22/97 (23.4 yrs)
Jyvaskyla, Finland
High School
Helsinki Academy
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Post Skills

NBA Comparison: Nikola Mirotic/Ryan Anderson

Strengths: Markkanen was one of the top freshmen in college basketball last season, despite a middle of the year shooting slump, scoring 15.6 points per game on 42% shooting from beyond the arc … Markkanen’s combination of size and skill makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft, and he will have the chance to develop into a valued stretch-four man in the Association … He is mature young man and appeared to be an exceptionally focused and likable teammate in his one year at Arizona … Markkanen’s upside starts with his outstanding size for an NBA power forward at 7-0 and 230 pounds … He is a fluid athlete with great coordination for his size … Most of the intrigue with him, however, is his unique offensive skillset … Markkanen is a high-IQ player that knows how to play the game very efficiently … As mentioned above, Markkanen shot 42% from distance on 5.9 attempts per 40 minutes, and he may actually be the best shooter in this draft regardless of position … He has smooth mechanics, a soft touch, and good balance off the catch … He is not only lethal off the catch, but he is also a prolific shooter on the move off of screens, pull-ups, face-up jumpers out of the post, etc … He particularly showed these abilities off earlier in the year when teammate Allonzo Trier was out for the earlier part of the season, causing him to play a lot of small forward and rely on more perimeter scoring … With more spacing at the NBA level, he will be a tremendous pick and pop threat and be able to maximize his shooting ability … Markkanen moves well without the ball when looking to spot up from the perimeter, and he knows how to find the open spot on the arc to get off a good look … His mechanics also stay consistent even when his shot is contested … He always gets his feet under him and does not waste any motion from catch to release … He runs off of screens like a guard, as he gets his feet set quickly and appears to be very comfortable rising into his shot here … In addition, he has great footwork when chased off the three-point line and can effortlessly shoot the ball off the dribble, especially going to his left … He even showed flashes of pull-up jumpers as a pick and roll ball handler in his arsenal, something extremely rare for his size … His agility for his 7-0, 238 pound frame jumps out, as he is decently effective off the bounce, which will be key for him going forward when defenders chase him off the arc … He has a pretty quick first step that is definitely good enough to get by many of the players that will be guarding him in the NBA … He is very good going to his left with the ability to put it on the floor and finish going left just as comfortably as he does with his right … Markkanen is not a high level athlete, but he can finish above the rim in space due to his superior height and decent leaping ability for his size … He also does a solid job of attacking the offensive glass for a stretch-four man … He does a great job of stepping out and hedging ball screens as well, a situation he will probably be in quite often in today’s pick and roll heavy NBA. Markkanen’s role in the NBA will be clearly defined as a stretch-four man, who can thrive in the role of instant offense off the bench or something along the lines of what Ryan Anderson brings to Houston …

As skilled as Markkanen is on the offensive end, he offers nowhere near the same potential on defense … His lack of strength is a major soncern as he gets toseed around pretty easily by NCAA bigs and already has filled out with broad shoulders … His core and leg strength need a lot of work, and may never allow him to battle inside against the NBA’s top post players … He does not have great length, limiting his ability to protect the rim, and being thin for his height, he plays a lot smaller than his size … He may be more of a mismatch as a stretch-five man on offense, but the flip side is that he may not have any chance to slow down most centers on the defensive end … As mentioned, Markkanen’s lack of a strong base hinders his ability to battle for position in the post … He is also not very physical down low, and he does not have the length to contest shots from other post players to make up for his inability to fight for good position … Combine his lack of length with just average timing and instincts, and he could be a potential liability on this end of the court … On the perimeter he has good feet, but he has a tendency to bend his back instead of his knees to get down in his stance, which eliminates some lateral quickness and effectiveness … He is a nightmare to guard as a stretch-four on offense, but he often gets lost when trying to defend opposing stretch-fours on the perimeter … His intincts in defending the pick and roll and knowing when to come help from the weak side also needs to improve … His rebounding ability is also less than stellar for many of the same reasons that his defensive upside is limited … Markkanen averaged an underwhelming 9.3 rebounds per 40 minutes, as he lacks the length, range, and toughness to be a force in this department … He does not always work hard to get great position when the shot goes up, nor does he have the necessary frame to push opposing big men out of position … Scouts also question how much more there really is to his offensive game than just his shooting ability … He does not appear to have much of a post game, other than simple jump hooks and turnaround jumpers and is not a great finisher in traffic … Not the most vocal or demonstrative person, will need to work on being more assertive and vocal on the floor … He also is not a very gifted playmaker at this stage (1.2 assists per 40 minutes) and he goes left most times he puts the ball on the floor … He is much better attacking off the dribble from the catch than in isolation situations, and he does not look nearly as natural shooting the ball when going to his right hand … Aside from the defensive concerns, he also must develop his offensive repertoire outside of his jump shot.

Notes: Rated as a five-star prospect by numerous scouting services, including ESPN, Scout and 24/7 Sports… The highest-rated European prospect of the 2016 class on ESPN to commit to a college program… Represented his home country of Finland in FIBA U16, U18 and U20 European Championships… Was the leading scorer at the 2016 U20 Euros, averaging 24.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game… Third Team All-American for Arizona… First Team All-Pac-12 Selection… Member of the Pac-12 All-Freshmen Team… Finalist for John R. Wooden Award and the Karl Malone Award… Pac-12 All-Tournament Team member… Two-time Pac-12 Player of the Week

William P. Desautelle III 6/17/17

Strengths: Versatile player who can play as a power forward and center… He has impressive mobility and coordination for a player his size… Possesses a nice physique and has added considerable muscle the last couple of years with no effect on his mobility … He runs the floor well and is actually really good in the open floor… Good inside-outside player who can mix it up on offense, although at the moment his face up game is a lot better than his back to the basket game… He can score in bunches and can “catch fire” at any time… He doesn’t force things on offense and lets the game come to him… He is already considered a great shooter from the perimeter, thanks to his great mechanics and NBA 3-point range… Very good in catch and shoot situations, especially from 45-degree angle… Plays Excellent the Pick and Pop as a screener, thanks to his great touch around the basket… Has improved on Pick and Roll Situations as the screener and has learned to cut faster to the basket after setting a screen… Has the ability to attack closeouts thanks to his explosive first step… Likes to finish strong at the basket and isn’t afraid of contact… Can put the ball on the floor and can even start the break or complete a coast to coast if the right opportunity comes up… He has even been used in Pick and Roll situations as the ball handler at times, with mixed results…  He gets at the free throw line at a high rate and he is a very good free throw shooter… Above average rebounder who rarely forgets to box out… Has good instincts on Defense, reads plays and as a result he makes a lot of steals… He has solid lateral quickness … Can defend the Pick and Roll at an acceptable rate when he is asked to hedge out… Knows the law of verticality and has good enough timing to make some blocks…

Weaknesses: His wingspan is average and that limits him on both ends of the floor… He is a good but not an elite athlete… He needs time to gather before jumping and that could hurt him at the next level… He could add a little more weight to be able to stand the physicality of the next level… His back to the basket game isn’t completely there yet… He doesn’t always establish position in the post and has problems doing it against physical players… He could improve his ball handling to be more effective on Isolation situations… His shooting mechanics are excellent, but his shooting release is a little slow, which gives his opponents time to contest his shot… Consistency is an issue, since he still has the tendency to disappear for long stretches of games … At times he is a little passive on offense and doesn’t always ask for the ball… Just an average passer for now… Off ball Defense needs work, since at times he is too focused on the ball and loses sight of the player he is guarding… He must improve on Post Defense, learn how to use his body and not get bullied by physical players… Weak side defense is also an issue since at times he is just a step too slow to help… It’s really difficult to imagine him becoming an elite shot blocker due to his average wingspan and inability to jump high from a standing position … He has problems defending when he is asked to switch and has to guard an explosive perimeter player since his lateral quickness is just OK for now…

Overall: Markkanen is a player to keep an eye on. At first glance he looks like a prototypical Stretch-4, but he can become a lot more than just that. His ability to score from just about everywhere on the floor is what makes him special, but he has all the necessary tools to become a two-way player. With that said, he still has long ways to go in many aspects of the game, especially on Defense, but if he continues working hard he can become a very good player in the future. Likely will need some adjustment time to playing against American athletes …

He is the son of Pekka Markkanen, a former professional basketball player who played basketball at Kansas for one season under Roy Williams… He was the top scorer in FIBA U20 European Championship in 2016 and was also voted in the All-Tournament team

Stefanos Makris 10/26/16

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