Lauri Markkanen made his preseason debut Sunday night after being out the first 2 games with back issues. And in what looks like the 20-year-old embodies what the whole Bulls offense embodied this preseason (and likely regular season): shoot a bunch of threes with no repercussions.
Markkanen took his first three-point attempt mere seconds after entering in the 2nd quarter. It missed. He missed every other one taken as well, with his only make being a driving layup as part of a secondary transition break. He also had this nice assist.
As Vincent Goodwill of NBCSportsChicago pointed out, Hoiberg is fine with Markkanen just chuckin’ away.
He has the green light from Fred Hoiberg, something not many rookies can enjoy as soon as they step on the floor. Hoiberg’s favorite stat about Markkanen appears to be “FGA” as he’s routinely raved about Markkanen’s 0-for-10 performance in a summer league game because Markkanen kept shooting.
“That’s one thing everybody loves about Lauri,” Hoiberg said. “He didn’t make any of them, but he kept shooting and the next night he bounced back with a big game. We want him aggressive. When he’s open we want him shooting the ball. He’s one of the best shooters on this team.”
Even still, Hoiberg wasn’t discouraged by the stat line and knows Markkanen won’t be going against the likes of Cousins and Davis every night.
“Great first experience to get out there against two of the better bigs in the league,” Hoiberg said. “First time against an NBA opponent and hopefully we’ll build from here. Happy to see him continue to be aggressive even though his shot wasn’t falling.”
Indeed, defensively he had a bad time when being matched up against DeMarcus Cousins, though that kind of foe is rare.
Markkanen’s 3-point attempts in this game wasn’t awful shot selection but were semi-contested. He’s extremely likely to be a good 3-point shooter, even though the NBA distance is longer than what he was filling up from in Eurobasket and back in college. I do worry that the lack of other competent offensive players won’t allow for him to get the space required to get more open attempts. The Bulls offense is looking to be like one where with nobody able to effectively break down a defense, it’ll just be a lot of passing around the perimeter.