It came in a loss, but one of my favorite performances so far this season was Lauri Markkanen’s first game back in Chicago wearing a Jazz jersey. His numbers were good: an efficient 28 points, four boards, three assists, and three steals. What stood out, though, were the dunks. Lauri crammed it home eight
times in 36 minutes. In the last 10 seasons, only seven players have ever finished with more in a single game
. Up against the organization that drafted him and then let him walk for nothing, he became an exclamation point.
For the Bulls, it’s hard to know what hurts more: that they missed out on his All-Star rise or, due to their own internal warts, that they would never be able to foster an environment where this version of Markkanen could exist.
His fit in Utah is perfect. Lauri is a 3-point shooting giant who can create his own shot, fly off screens, and hold down several positions at the other end. The level of athleticism and skill in a body that massive is generational.
His season has been a revelation for Utah, along with the very idea that it’s OK to be patient with outlandishly talented players
who don’t solve various NBA puzzles right away.