CHICAGO — Lauri Markkanen had a busy summer, and didn’t spend much of it in his new home. After becoming the No. 7 overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in June’s draft, one of the centerpieces of the blockbuster Jimmy Butler trade, he played in his first Summer League in Las Vegas and, much more notably, for Finland in the EuroBasket tournament. During those games, Twitter became little more than Bulls fans salivating and wondering if, just maybe, the Butler trade wasn’t so bad after all.
Even if Markkanen had been in Chicago with the rest of his teammates on the rebuilding Bulls, he wasn’t going to do much that didn’t involve staying in the gym.
“I’m not here for sightseeing,” Markkanen said at last month’s media day when asked what Chicago things he’s done so far.
That’s one thing to know about Markkanen. Another is that he’s absolutely not here for any preconceived notions about European players. He’s heard the Dirk Nowitzki comparison a million times, thank you very much. And he’s not soft, either.
“I know that stereotype is there, but I don’t include myself in that,” Markkanen said over the summer. “I’m not soft. I play hard. I see why everybody thinks it’s [going away] slowly, from players just coming from overseas and changing that.”