PF/C Arizona Lauri Markkanen 7’0” 225 7’0” wingspan
Player Comparison: Ryan Anderson/ Nikola Mirotic
Why here: A common Dirk comp, Lauri will serve this team well with the departure of Nowitzki, Dirk will have the ability to mentor a young player with a similar skill set to his own before his retirement and the Mavs will be able to retain sets and similar play styles from the Dirk era. More directly, the Mavs need scorers with two-way potential.
Strengths: Jumper… great form and speed on release… height allows shooting over defenders… doesn’t need much space to get off good look. Seems to be very teachable… IQ clearly improved from start to end of freshman year… became much better moving without the ball. Strong high post game when able to rely on jump shooting out of the post. Has appeal as a stretch five. Shows NBA range and efficiency from all areas of floor 55/42/84. Got to FT line reasonable amount for a shooting big. Has surprising handle for a 7-footer… shoots well of the dribble… shows ability to be p&r ball handler. Average rebounder, is good at predicting long boards.
Weaknesses: Needs to beef up… doesn’t have high IQ on how to use size against smaller defenders. Has ok low post game, but footwork and arsenal could be improved upon. Pick and roll offense is rough around the edges (could be small sample size). Could struggle defensively at the next level… strength isn’t there for guarding fives… isn’t quite agile or athletic enough to effectively guard fours… reaches and gets lost on perimeter… gets bodied and out smarted down low. Needs to improve low post repertoire: no drop step, baby hook, or up and under. Needs improved rebounding IQ… often shows lapses in footwork and positioning… loses rebounds to more aggressive players.
Outlook: Lauri will bode extremely well in a pick and roll heavy offense. As a potent perimeter offensive threat and sneaky ball handler, Markkanen should fit in well to most teams’ sets. His defensive liabilities will be the brunt of his rookie slumps, but if he can minimize those struggles and improve his IQ on both ends he will develop into a promising player.
Random Prediction: Signs with Hankook tires who make him a weird new grippy rubber shoe. Goes 9/25 from three in a single game. Gets elbowed in eye during preseason, has to wear goofy mask.