The big Fin Lauri Markkanen put up a big stat line, hit a big shot and led the Jazz to a big win Friday night over the Suns. He scored a career-high 38 points on a silly 15-of-18 from the floor, 2-of-3 from deep and 6-of-8 at the line, and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a giveaway to the line.
So far this season Markkanen has delivered late 2nd / early third-round value, which isn’t too surprising. The skills were evident, it was just a matter of the fit and program in what was supposed to be a tanking Jazz team. And so far he’s fit like a glove worn by a big white dude in Utah.
His counting stats aren’t too far from this 2019-20 breakout sophomore season, before things got stormy in the Windy City. The major difference is his ability to get shots inside, and being surrounded by willing and able passers helps, too. Markkanen is shooting 65.6% on 2-point shots with nearly 10 attempts a game, numbers comparable only to Nikola Jokic. The other improvement in the stat line is nearly 2.5 assists per game – again a result of playing in an offense that complements his skill set.
Most of his career high points were actually easy buckets while taking advantage of a string of blown defensive plays. However, the difficulty level was high on this Kobe/Dirk vintage turnaround jumper:Please, blog, may I have some more?