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Lauri Markkanen Makes A Case for ROY. And A Nickname.

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The Finnish Freak? Mark-Marvelous? The fact that Lauri Markkanen has not received a clever nickname is confirmation that he has run with the Bulls unrecognized, in this his rookie year in Chi-Town.

Lauri Markkanen made his case (Dun-Dun) to become the NBA Rookie of the Year with his record-setting performance against the struggling Miami Heat. He became the fastest player in NBA history to reach 100 three pointers in just his 41st game of the season.

Last night he added to his resume a 17 point, 9 rebound performance going 3-6 from the three-point line in 30 minutes.

For reference, it took Stephen Curry 58 and Ray Allen 76 games in their first year to hit that mark. The original record was set by Damian Lillard in 2013 (2.3) Lillard currently holds the season record with 185 (h/t tuscon.com).

Voted as a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press, USA Today, and Sporting News, Markkanen was a Finalist for John R. Wooden Award and the Karl Malone Award in 2016. To say that this guy would be a great “Player in the Community” was a given. The chance the Bulls took was if he could prove himself on the floor.

The knock on Markkanen is his size and quickness which is most obvious when he plays defense on the association’s other high-caliber small and power-forwards. Chicago has Kris Dunn, an emerging point guard, and some veteran role players assembled into an on-court version of the Odd Couple(s).

“Sometimes you get labeled as a shooter. But he really is a complete basketball player,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s versatile. He can put the ball on the deck. He slides his feet really well for a guy who is 7 feet tall at his age. (h/t Chicago Tribune)
“He’s learning on the fly. He’s going to have ups and downs. But he’s played pretty darn well for everything he’s been through and understanding two days ago he’s going to be in the lineup.”

As the NBA game evolves, Markkanen seems like the new prototypical player, a tall shooter, maybe can’t guard a Steph, or Kyrie, patient yet aggressive and one that should be afforded more fanfare and attention. NBA defenses keep softening when the ball is in his hands.

During one game in October, Markkanen buried a three-pointer with 48.5 seconds left to assure that the Chicago Bulls skirted their first 0-4 start since the 07-08 season.
Markkannen is the Tennessee Tuxedo to Kristaps Porzingis’ Chumley. He will cross him over and step-back draining the three while being the Forward With the Dragon Three-Pointer. Lauri will continue to ravage the league. There will be those “defensive specialists” that believe they can stop him but it will continue? Can it be sustained?
The head the of Unicorn has grown a new branch. And it’s Finnish. A Fin, if you will. A terrible joke, for a bloke that will push through that wall.


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Chicago Bulls

Bulls, Pacers Interested In Jahlil Okafor

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Jahlil Okafor has struggled to stay on the court after an impressive rookie season, and he will be looking for a new home after the Brooklyn Nets are unlikely to bring him back next season, according to The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney.

Okafor worked out for teams while in Las Vegas and is generating interest from the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers.

Okafor has trimmed down, going from 275 pounds to 258 pounds.

 

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Bulls’ Kris Dunn Was ‘Offended’ By Questions of Work Ethic

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Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn hasn’t really capitalized on his potential and the Bulls are hoping that his second season in the Windy City will be much better than his first.

Dunn has been no stranger to criticism, and admits that he was “offended” over questions about his work ethic.

“I was definitely offended by it. My dad worked hard in life” Dunn said, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Shannon Ryan. “My brothers and sisters and me (took) hard work very seriously. It is the only way to succeed.”

Dunn won’t let the talk bother him and is looking forward to getting back to work and improving his game.

“You don’t get too caught up in it. You just keep doing what you do best. I know I work hard. I don’t have to prove it to anybody. I just have to show it on the court. I have no answers for (why the rumors originated). Whoever put it out there, that’s how they felt. Questioning my work ethic? That’s just (not valid). I work hard. If I’m not working, I’m around my family. Absolutely nothing (has changed about workouts or preparation).”

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Chicago Bulls

Bulls, Jabari Parker Agree To Two-Year Deal, Bucks Rescind Offer

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The Chicago Bulls have agreed to a two-year, $40 million contract with Jabari Parker, who was a restricted free agent up until the Milwaukee Bucks rescinded their offer, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Parker averaged  12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Bucks last season, after he returned from an ACL tear in February.

Milwaukee allowed Parker and his agent to work out a deal with his hometown Bulls.

The Bucks commented on their decision to rescind Parker’s offer, via the Chicago Tribune’s Malika Andrews.

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