2017 Scouting Report: Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen is a 7 foot sharpshooting forward from Finland who took the PAC 12 by storm, going (per 40): 20 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.7 BPG, and 1.4 TOPG on 49% shooting, with 42% from 3, 83.5% from the line, and a TS% of 63.5%

Quick statistical overview: Lauri Markkanen obviously had his most success from jump shooting. Rebounding and defensive stats were low, but efficiency was high. However, he must improve his rebounding. His low defensive stats suggest low defensive upside.

Strengths:

  • As noted, his shot is absolutely smooth. Lauri Markkanen will be a sharpshooter from day 1. He will be an immediate stretch 4/5. He has excellent footwork on his shots, which makes his shot so smooth. Additionally, he can score well off the dribble for this stage of the career. His blend of spot up shooting and scoring on the move is very good.
  • Markkanen is a hard worker and constantly puts in high effort- going for 50/50 balls and quick to get back on defense and fights for rebounds.
  • Markkanen also has quickness that helps him score off the dribble and occasionally take guys to the rim.

Weaknesses:

  • Lauri Markkanen struggles heavily at defense, especially down low. Lauri i s easily susceptible to pump fakes down low. Another example. He also struggles at times versus the pick & roll, and against players posting up and cutting down low. Here is one example of his poor defense.
  • Limited at creating scoring: Markkanen is best served as a spot up shooter, or a 1 dribble shooter. He can not easily create his own shot and ball handling decision making is troubled at times.
  • Markkanen must add Strength: Markkanen is skinny for a 7 footer, and needs to continue to add weight.
  • Markkanen is not explosive at all. He lacks much vertical athleticism, and is slow in the full court.

Overall: Lauri’s shooting is going to be his ticket to playing NBA minutes. He’s arguably the worst defensive player in the draft, save maybe Dwayne Bacon. Statistically speaking, Markkanen needs to cut down on turnovers, will be a loss on defense, and is not an effective rebounder.

I predict his first season being him contributing as a backup PF whose main role is to stretch the floor. I could see him having a first season similar to Mike Muscala did this last year for Atlanta.

For Dallas, Markkanen is a short term fit as a backup power forward, but I question his ability to be a go-to scorer and shot creator. The pressure of “the next Dirk”, which is a bad narrative, may not be healthy for him. The Mavs should avoid “the next Dirk” as no player is going to have his ability to adjust a defensive gameplan and the feel for the game that Dirk has had.

NBA Comparison: less explosive Meyers Leonard (2014-15)

Projected draft range: 7-13

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