Sportando.com reports that Markkanen will play for the Finland National Team at the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this summer. There are three waves of games in the qualifying rounds, with Finland holding a 2-2 record after the first two waves of games.
Markkanen will play with the Finnish National Team on June 29 against the Czech Republic and July 2 against Iceland in the third wave of games with the idea that his presence will carry the Fins to a 2-0 record in those games and thus allow the team to advance to the second round of qualifying. Markkanen is excited for the opportunity.
(It will be) nice to get dressed again in the Finland shirt in front of the home crowd. EuroBasket 2017 gave me life-long memories and now there’s an opportunity to make new ones
But, what does his boss think about all of this? After all, that’ll mean he won’t be “in their building” for this super-important summer of workouts.
On @mullyhanley, John Paxson indicated Lauri Markkanen's short stint with Finland at end of June is "probably" the only national team commitment he'll have this summer. There's another late in summer, but it sounds like Markkanen will skip that. The focus is on adding strength.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) April 13, 2018
The second national team commitment that Paxson is likely eluding to is the second round of FIBA World Cup qualifying which goes down in mid-September.
Markkanen played six games (27.0 minutes per game) for Team Finland in EuroBasket at the end of last summer. He averaged 19.5 points per game on 53 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The additional workload of international competition may have contributed to reoccurring back spasms that sidelined him throughout the NBA season. However, outside of a freak accident (profusely knocking on wood), two international games shouldn’t move the needle much in terms of creating extra fatigue.
Bulls fans should revel in the fact that they’ll have an opportunity to watch one of their players compete in something that matters this summer.