It’s not fair to lose a starting job due to injury or even being hit in the face by a teammate, but three games in it looks like Lauri Markkanen doesn’t have to be brought along as slowly as people thought before the season. Markkanen was supposed to be battling incumbents Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis for valuable minutes, but when the two power forwards went to battling each other it opened the door for the Bulls’ first-round pick. And he’s responded against some of the best competition in the NBA, setting an NBA record for 3-pointers by a rookie in his first three games in the Bulls’ 119-112 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena. Markkanen scored 17 of his career-high 19 points in the first half, along with eight rebounds in 32 minutes -- the Bulls are being very careful about too many minutes too soon in a 20-year old’s career. “It was great to see Lauri get off to that start. Our guys did a good job of finding him,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s gonna be a heck of a player, man. To see him battling the way he did against this type of competition, says a lot about him.” In trying to deftly avoid a question about it being hard to keep him on the bench when Portis comes back, he finally relented with a chucking “yes.” “He’s been really good, three games in,” Hoiberg said. “We cut his minutes back by design, but he’s got a chance to be special.” He’s shown an adept ability to find spots on the floor to get his shot in the flow of the offense, and hit five first-half triples to help the Bulls take a 14-point lead before a stunned crowd.
Impressed royalty: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade endorse 'very confident' Lauri Markkanen
CSN Chicago | Oct 25