Well, after a dysfunctional 16-17 season, the Chicago Bulls have clearly committed to the rebuilding process. Currently the team is 0-3 after trading Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for Zach LaVine (injured), Kris Dunn (injured) and a 7th overall draft pick that turned into Lauri Markkanen.
While the trade looked lopsided at first, Markkanen’s ability to continue his progress will make or break the entire deal. The Finnish power-forward is already looking like he could turn into a very promising player if he continues to develop.
On Tuesday night, Markkanen became the first rookie ever to score 10 three-pointers in their first three games. Another notable fact: he hit five of those threes while being guarded by Kevin Love and Lebron James.
In his post game interview, Lebron praised Markkanen, saying [via ESPN]:
“[He’s] a very confident kid, shoot the heck out of the ball. He’s going to continue to get better. The best thing about it is he’s getting an opportunity. If he makes mistakes, he can learn on the fly, but he’s going to play a lot. He’s good. It seems like he’s learning. He’s a good player.”
While there are still clearly areas where Lauri can improve, he’s already begun proving the critics wrong. After giving the Bulls draft pick an “F+” this offseason, Bill Simmons seems to have changed his mind:
Among rookies, right now Markkanen is #2 in scoring, #2 in rebounds and #1 in 3-pointers made – not to mention possibly #1 in apparent politeness: