With NBA Draft season in full swing, it was only a matter of time before we got our first viral ‘NBA prospect does impressive thing one-on-none’ video, and thanks to University of Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen, it’s here!
I laughed watching that footage because I know how little it means, and yet I still walked away from it impressed. It’s reminiscent of the famous Nik Stauskas shooting in the rain video, and we all know how that worked out, but that’s neither here nor there. Different prospect, different situation, blah, blah, blah.
If you want a little more insight into who Lauri Markkanen is, you should check out Bryant’s scouting report from a week or so ago here.
I had been coming around on the idea of drafting Markkanen with the Kings’ second first round pick (10th overall) over the last month or so for a couple of different reasons.
For one, he’s widely regarded as the best shooter in the draft. There just isn’t a clear-cut player the Kings should be targeting with that 10th pick. We’ve run down the scenarios a thousand times before, but if Jonathan Isaac, the most likely top-8 player to fall to #10 doesn’t fall, and the Kings land a point guard with #5, the options for the Kings at #10 are endless. If you can walk away from the draft with your point guard of the future and the best shooter in the draft, I’m good with that despite the slight positional redundancy. You’re not going to find the perfect prospect at #10.
Yes, the Kings have Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, and George Papagiannis as developing big men, but none of them are shooters, and while Labissiere may develop some decent range on his jumper, he’s not the marksman Markkanen is supposed to be.
So while a big part of me would like to see the Kings find a small forward in the draft somewhere, they may actually need Lauri Markkanen.
If you look around the league, it’s hard to find a successful team that doesn’t have shooting in their frontcourt. The Cavaliers have Kevin Love. The Warriors have Draymond Green, or Kevin Durant when they go small. The Celtics have Al Horford. The Rockets have Ryan Anderson. The Spurs have LaMarcus Aldridge, etc. Shooting from the frontcourt is necessary in 2017, and the Kings don’t have it. Skal might get there. Might.
Markkanen’s floor is shooting from the front court, and he has the potential for so much more than that. At this point, Lauri is my own personal favorite for the Kings at #10, and maybe this propaganda highlight footage will get you on my side.