2017 Orlando Magic Draft Preview: Who is Lauri Markkanen?

Mar 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) drives the ball past Xavier Musketeers forward Tyrique Jones (0) during the second period in the semifinals of the West Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at SAP Center. Xavier Musketeers defeated the Arizona Wildcats 73-71. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) drives the ball past Xavier Musketeers forward Tyrique Jones (0) during the second period in the semifinals of the West Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at SAP Center. Xavier Musketeers defeated the Arizona Wildcats 73-71. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Good

What obviously stands out about Lauri Markkanen’s game is his ability to shoot the ball. Whether it be from mid-range or beyond the arc, Markkanen is a laser marksman, shooting an impressive 42.3 percent from deep in his sole year at Arizona.

Standing at 7-feet tall, Markkanen’s shot is what has led some to compare him to the New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis. His one year with the Wildcats saw him put up 15.6 points per game on 49.2 percent shooting. This came with an effective field goal percentage of 58.4 percent and a true shooting percentage of 63.4 percent — good for fourth and fifth in the Pac-12 respectively.

He has good range on his shot, able to comfortably knock it down from the college 3-point line, and his tendency to lean back as he shoots — combined with his 7-foot height — make it near impossible to alter his shot from the perimeter. His shot has a quick and high release, making him ideal for the modern NBA.

An excellent spot-up shooter from the perimeter, Markkanen is also a competent shooter pulling up off the dribble. His ability to stretch the floor fits in perfectly with the profile of the modern NBA big.

Yet Markkanen can do more than just shoot the ball — with his aforementioned shooting dragging his defender outside of the paint. He has the ability to get past them with incredible agility for a big, easily getting to the basket against slower-footed power forwards and centers.

His ball-handling skills are also exceptional for a man his size, with Markkanen having a turnover rate of just 8.1 percent for the 2017 Pac-12 season.

His movement on the offensive end is also impressive off the ball, with the 20-year old having the ability to get himself open for a spot-up shot from deep or to drag his defender out and blow past him to the rim.

But Markkanen’s game is far from perfect, and there are a number of warning signs teams should take into account if they are thinking of drafting the Wildcat.