Is Lauri Markkanen Minnesota’s Missing Piece

Lauri Markkanen - Minnesota Kelly Presnell/ Arizona Daily Star

The Minnesota Timberwolves year in and year out consistently add early to mid-first round picks to try to bring them back to the “KG era,” a time where the wolves made back to back playoff appearances, but continuously fell short of expectations.

The drafting of Karl-Anthony Towns has allowed a mere glimpse of the promise land and as most people know, reminded people a lot of that 95 Draft of the Hall of Fame big man Kevin Garnett. Towns, who is averaging 24.5 points and 12.1 rebounds on the year, needs a front court partner who is able to stretch the floor and give him more space down low. Someone like Lauri Markkanen of Arizona could be the perfect fit.

The 7-foot big man from Finland’s upside is ginormous. His limitless range and efficiency are next to none as he is the only high-major player to shoot over 50% from three with 90 plus attempts.

“He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen,” his coach Sean Miller said.

The pick and pop game possibilities are endless for the big man if he can end up under former Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, especially with a crafty guard like Ricky Rubio who is one of the better playmakers in the league.

“His shot preparation, body control, and range are almost unheard of for a player his size, and the fact that he is a threat in spot-up situations, pick and pops, and dribble hand-offs helps keep the floor spaced perfectly for Arizona and gives his guards plenty of room to operate in the half-court,” wrote Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress. “With the added spacing of the more distant NBA 3-point line, it’s not a stretch to wonder how much more room Markkanen will have to get clean looks.”

If the Timberwolves can nab Markkanen with their mid-lottery pick, and work with him on his rebounding abilities, we could be looking at the biggest steal of the draft, as well as the best power forward to don a Timberwolves uniform since Kevin Love.

This post was written by our guest contributor, Ryan Brindley. 


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