An international product like Frank Ntilikina presides in a cloud of mystery, but the tenth pick in the community draft board improved his stock by leaving that cloud and betting on a year of NCAA basketball to prove himself. The Great Finnish Hope fills out the top-10, Lauri Markkanen - PF, Arizona.
Having recently turned 20, Markkanen is a year older than most of the top prospects, but he made his professional debut in Finland at the age of 15 where he showed the ability to ball with the best of them. A successful season at Arizona, who reached the Sweet 16 this past year, greatly improved the optics of his game giving scouts and fans alike even more tape and data to fawn over; proving he’s more than a foreign enigma to be fearful of drafting. He’s a bona fide sharpshooter with an elite offensive game and a good body.
The 7’0”, 230-pound Markkanen is fairly built for a 20-year old, but he’s still filling out his frame. Once he thickens up his base he should be more of a nuisance guarding bigger bodied big men down low, and it should add a little more power and explosion in his game at the rim. It should also improve his box out ability to boost his rebounding numbers, averaging 9.7 total rebounds per-40, pace adjusted at Arizona. Markkanen’s speed and elusiveness helped him fly in from the outside for offensive rebounds -- he had a 10.0 offensive rebounding percentage -- and putbacks -- he had 33 putbacks, equaling 27.4% of his total shots at the rim. But a bit more bulk will make him a tougher task for opposing players.
The most discussed and intriguing prospect of Markkanen’s game is, of course, his jump shooting. He shot 42% from three on the season, going 69-163, with 94.2% of them being assisted. With 43% of his shots coming from downtown Markkanen projects to be a floor stretching big man, altering the geometry of the court for any team, and with a 83.5% free throw percentage and his 7-foot frame his shot should translate fairly well and he shouldn’t struggle to get his shot off.
Averaging 21 points per 40, pace adjusted, on nearly six three-point attempts per game shows he’s not afraid to shoot and score. He also registered a 130.1 offensive rating on the season, one of the highest in all Division I and the highest among projected draft picks. Additionally, Markkanen put up a 58.4 effective field goal percentage and a 63.5 true shooting percentage on a 21.5 usage rate.
He can also leverage his shooting with solid ball handling and impressive footwork to attack closeouts as well in those catch and shoot opportunities. Throughout the season he knocked down shots off the dribble and shot a good percentage in the mid range, 42.4%, while the offense often set many ball screens for him work off of. He’s not afraid to attack off the dribble, and similar to putback situations, Markkanen uses his size and agility to finish easily at the rim if there’s little resistance. However, his relative lack of length and unimposing physicality make it tough to finish in traffic or through contact.
On the defensive end, Markkanen is solid. The same agility, footwork, nimbleness and size make him a good perimeter defender, especially for a seven-footer, who can stick with bigger guys and switch onto smaller players with relative ease. He’s a smart player who can read the floor and understands spacing. He’ll struggle against brutes down low, and his shorter arms hinder his ability to block shots.
Most teams will want to try Markkanen at the five, which he should be capable of offensively, but he won’t be a rim protector by any means. Markkanen’s shooting would be a blessing for the Bucks, most likely slotting in as a good replacement for Mirza Teletovic -- and people don’t cringe whenever he puts the ball on the floor or drives as Bucks fans usually do with Telly -- and he would be an interesting four in lineups with Thon Maker. He’d open up space inside for Giannis and Khris Middleton to drive or go to work, and Markkanen could probably find backdoor cuts along the baseline with ease. Many people compare Markkanen to Dirk Nowitzki, but only time will tell if Markkanen can reach those lofty heights. Nevertheless he should be an offensive talent with the capability of being a solid defender.
The 2017 Brew Hoop Draft Board
- Markelle Fultz - PG, Washington - DraftExpress Profile
- Lonzo Ball - PG, UCLA - DraftExpress Profile
- Josh Jackson - SF, Kansas - DraftExpress Profile
- De’Aaron Fox - PG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jayson Tatum - SF, Duke - DraftExpress Profile
- Malik Monk - SG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jonathan Isaac - SF/PF, Florida State - DraftExpress Profile
- Dennis Smith - PG, N.C. State - DraftExpress Profile
- Frank Ntilikina - PG, Strasbourg - DraftExpress Profile
- Lauri Markkanen - PF, Arizona - DraftExpress Profile
My Pick for the #13 Spot on the Brew Hoop Community Draft Board is:
This poll is closed
OG Anunoby - SF/PF, Indiana
Donovan Mitchell - SG, Louisville
Luke Kennard - SG, Duke
John Collins - PF, Wake Forest
Justin Jackson - SF, North Carolina
Ike Anigbogu - C, UCLA
Jarrett Allen - C, Texas
Trade the pick!