Lauri Markkanen is Finnish for Mitch Trubisky. That’s my mnemonic for basketball season. It can be yours, too. I’m a pleaser, not a teaser. That’s the template I’m flopping over to the court to justify my viewing experience and not risk the urge to dunk my head in a bucket of battery acid. It’s all about Markkanen and Trubisky this season. Both players, both teams, all about the rookies. They’re young. They represent the future. They’re the only hope or the most important player on their rosters, or both. It’s all about their progress. It’s all about their ability to adapt to the pro level. It’s all about the Bears and the Bulls following their shiny new first-round picks out of the muck of bad management, bad player evaluation and bad coaching. Nine games into the Bulls season and eight games into the Bears year, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to. This comparison feels more awkward with Markkanen because the Bulls wanted everyone rooting for them to lose, and still do, thus making fans experience self-hate if they found something worth rooting for, and Markkanen was Exhibit No. 1. Trubisky, meanwhile, was the object of any sane fan’s desire the moment he was drafted. The only people who didn’t want to see Trubisky play for the Bears were the Bears. Well, Bears management and coaching, anyway, those wonderful folks who declared 2017 to be Mike Glennon’s season. That resounds with stupidity no matter how far removed we get. Markkanen followed a similar path, the backup who famously ascended to the starting lineup only after Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face.
Lauri Markkanen is Mitch Trubisky. Mitch Trubisky is Lauri Markkanen.
Chicago Tribune | Nov 9