Potential Wolves draft pick profile: Lauri Markkanen
Leading up to the NBA Draft, FOX Sports North will take a look at some options for the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 7 overall pick. We continue the series with Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen.
Previously: Jonathan Isaac | Malik Monk
FRAME: 7-foot, 230 pounds (n/a wingspan)
POSITION: Center/power forward
2016-17 STATISTICAL AVERAGES: 30.8 minutes, 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks, 49.2 FG%, 42.3 3PT%, 83.5 FT%.
TROPHY CASE: Finalist for Wooden Award and Karl Malone Award. … Named third-team All-American by the Associated Press, NABC, NBC Sports and The Sporting News. … All-Pac-12 first team, All-Pac-12 freshman team and member of Pac-12 all-tournament team. … Twice named Pac-12 Player of the Week.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Markkanen was one of the best freshmen in Arizona history, tying for the second-most points by a freshman in Wildcats history as well third in 3-point field goals, third in rebounds, third in free throws, fourth in free-throw percentage and sixth in 3-point field-goal percentage. Markkanen made his name in conference play, with big games in the regular season vs. Arizona State (30 points, eight rebounds), at Washington (26 points, 13 rebounds) and at USC (23 points, eight rebounds), and a 29-point outburst vs. UCLA in the conference semifinals.
GET TO KNOW HIM: Markkanen has basketball in his blood. His father, Pekka, played at Kansas as well as a pro in Finland while his mother, Riikka, played for Finland's national team.
Markannen played in Finland before coming to the United States and played for his country in the U16, U18 and U20 European Championships, leading the U20 tournament with 24.9 points per game while also averaging 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 assists per game.
So, not surprisingly, he's kind of a big deal in Finland.
Markkanen is anything but shy, posting often to Twitter, Instagram and a Facebook fan page. Oh yeah, he also already has a website set up with some "road to the draft" videos.
WHY IT WORKS: The Timberwolves ranked last in the NBA last season in 3-point field goals made (7.3) and attempted (21.0) per game while their 34.9 percent shooting from long range was 20th. Markkanen would help increase all those numbers as he already has NBA-ready 3-point range. He'd help take pressure of Karl-Anthony Towns and help open KAT's inside game.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Like a lot of younger players, Markkanen might not be ready defensively for the NBA and will need to add weight and/or strength. Also, if he is more of a stretch-four, he won't be guarding some big, plodding centers and thus could be a liability on the defensive end. With Nemanja Bjelica and Gorgui Dieng currently on the roster, power forward likely isn't an immediate need, either.
FILM ROOM: For a big man, Markkanen has demonstrated some guard-like skills, such as his proficient outside shot, shooting off the dribble and ability to pass. He's also known as someone who can heat up and get on a roll quickly.