Lauri Markkanen, a forward with the Utah Jazz, is currently playing some of his greatest basketball of his career, which is a big reason why the Jazz are 9-3 and in first place in the NBA’s Western Conference. Markkanen is averaging 21.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in 12 games this season. His defense has also advanced significantly.
we're going to take a look at a little of what utah and atlanta did. pic.twitter.com/NCflnlEUoj
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) November 10, 2022
He’s already played in three games with at least 30 points, with his season-high 32 points coming on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. He led his team to a six-point victory by making six of his eight 3-point attempts. Bulls fans have seen Markkanen put together some impressive stretches before. Everyone remembers his mythical February of 2019 where he averaged 26.5 points over an 11-game stretch. He dropped 30+ points in five of those games and also scooped up 12.6 rebounds a night.
Playing the “what if” game at this point in Markkanen’s NBA career—two teams removed and six seasons in—is probably not a good idea. However, it’s difficult to not but wonder where the Chicago version of him went. Why did it turn out so badly when he had enough of flexibility to play his game and develop into a more reliable player?
The season has only had 13 games so far. Markkanen is still capable of returning to reality and acting no better than a glorified role-player. But if he continues on his current upward course, fans will just decide to be pleased for him. Even though it hurts a little bit, the turnaround in one’s late career is very cool.