Lauri Markkanen Picked No. 7 in NBA Draft, Wolves Trade Him to Bulls

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2017

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 23:  Lauri Markkanen #10 of the Arizona Wildcats drives against the Xavier Musketeers during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at SAP Center on March 23, 2017 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The top of the draft board isn't all guards and wing players, as the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen with the No. 7 overall pick Thursday.

The Timberwolves, however, sent Markkanen to the Chicago Bulls. Minnesota announced they agreed to acquire Jimmy Butler for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh overall pick.

Turner Sports analyst David Aldridge thought Chicago had assembled promising pieces for its rebuild:

David Aldridge @daldridgetnt

Bulls have had a very strong night already: LaVine, Dunn and Lauri Markkanen at seven.

Both Denver7's Troy Renck and Scout's Evan Daniels praised Markkanen's shooting ability:

Troy Renck @TroyRenck

Lauri Markkanen is best big-man shooter I saw last season. Has legit 3-point range. Can rebound.

Evan Daniels @EvanDaniels

Lauri Markkanen is the best shooter in the NBA Draft. Ridiculous shot mechanics, touch & footwork for a stretch post player.

Markkanen turned heads during his freshman season at Arizona when he helped lead his team to the Sweet 16 as a double-double threat who averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a night.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

After trading with the Wolves... Bulls take Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen with the No. 7 pick https://t.co/P9snnJpxOt

He is particularly dangerous because of his ability to extend his game beyond the three-point line (42.3 percent) even though he is a 7'0" big man. He can be a matchup problem at the NBA level because he is physical enough to compete for boards but can also force opposing big men outside of the paint with his shooting ability.

Markkanen's college coach, Sean Miller, discussed the forward's talent, per Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star: "His greatest strength is he focuses on the team and he's trying to win. His play speaks for itself."

There were plenty of talented guards and wings who defined much of the predraft coverage, but Markkanen was one of the bigs who stood out alongside Gonzaga's Zach Collins and Texas' Jarrett Allen, among others.

The Bulls will now look to build around Markkanen and other new faces moving forward.


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