When the Chicago Bulls spent the seventh pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen, the team came under plenty of scrutiny. Markkanen was a nice prospect, but for a team that had just traded away Jimmy Butler, it seemed like the Bulls could have made a bigger splash than a stretch five who appeared to have limited upside.
Since he’s taken the floor, though, Markkanen has turned into a productive player for the Bulls, averaging 15 points and 7.6 rebounds in about 30 minutes per game. And on Friday night, the native of Finland impressed the greatest international player in NBA history.
Markkanen had 16 points and nine rebounds in Chicago’s 127-124 win over Dallas. After the game, Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki praised the rookie, comparing his upside to that of Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis.