There’s going to be a Finnish invasion at NBA All-Star Weekend Feb. 16-18.
In addition to playing on Team World in the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game, Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen will join a loaded group of NBA talent in the Skills Challenge.
They’ve got a very particular set of skills…— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 2, 2018
Introducing your 2018 #TacoBellSkills participants! #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/p67xKtEHWf
It’s a testament to how much the NBA has evolved that three 7-footers are in this competition. The first 13 years of the Skills Challenge, guards won every single time. But the last two winners have been big men (Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis).
The only Bulls player to win this competition was Derrick Rose, during his own rookie season in 2009.
As a 7-footer, Markkanen can score from all three levels, put the ball on the floor, run in transition, and even bring the ball up on offense at times. He has future unicorn-level athleticism given his height, and he’s already shown he can dunk the ball emphatically.
Skills Challenge participant today, dunk contest and 3-point shootout champion next year...and before you know it Markkanen is a perennial All-Star leading the Bulls to an NBA Finals....