Over at ESPN, Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz ranked NBA rookies based on future potential (no criteria provided to nail down exactly what that means).
After spending the majority of the article arguing about Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell, the writers finally get to Markkanen. Pelton had the Finnish 7-footer at No. 5 on his list while Schmitz had him at No. 6. Here is Pelton’s analysis:
Rather than Fultz, I’m going to complete my top five with Markkanen. Though Markkanen’s value as a rookie fluctuated with his 3-point percentage, he finished right at league average beyond the arc on an impressive six attempts per game.
As Markkanen develops a post-up game to take advantage of switches and teams using smaller defenders against him (he averaged just 0.82 points per chance on post-ups according to Second Spectrum tracking), he should become a matchup problem on offense. Markkanen also proved surprisingly adept at defending on the perimeter, my biggest concern about his game. So although he doesn’t have the upside of Fultz, I think he’s a safer bet going forward.
And the final rankings from both writers for your viewing pleasure....
Considering the overwhelming talent in this rookie class, Markkanen’s spot on the lists can’t be viewed as too surprising or disappointing. He seems to be on a trajectory to eventually develop into an NBA All-Star, but whether he’s good enough to be a No. 1 scoring option on a serious contender remains to be seen.
With that being said, development with such young players can be volatile. Athletic 7-footers with guard skills and who can shoot from anywhere on the floor are an extremely valuable commodity in today’s NBA. The Bulls should be very pleased with the value they got with the No. 7 pick in the draft last season.