Five Things To Know About Utah's Newest Sharp-Shooter: Lauri Markkanen

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

Welcome to Utah, Lauri Markkanen

In what has become one of the biggest offseason trades, the Jazz sent three-time all-star Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for multiple first-round picks and a bevy of young and talented players.

Among that group is Markkanen, a former first-round pick out of Arizona who has overcome injuries early in his career to thrive in the league.

Here are five things to know about the sharp-shooting big man, Markkanen:

1.) Finnish Youth Star
Since he was a young kid in Finland, there have been talks about Markkanen's abilities and prowess on the basketball court.

He proved as much, playing professional basketball for HBA-Märsky in the Finnish second-tier league as a 17-year-old. It allowed him to get some much-needed experience and see what it was like to play against grown men, preparing him for the physical nature of college basketball and life in the league.

HELSINKI, FINLAND - SEPTEMBER 3: Lauri Markkanen of Finland during the FIBA Eurobasket 2017 Group A match between Finland and Poland on September 3, 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/Press Focus/MB Media/Getty Images)

2.) Fantastic Freshman Season
Markkanen surprised quite a few people when he elected to leave Finland to play college ball in the states, signing with Arizona.

Dubbed the "greatest shooting 7-footer ever in college" by multiple outlets, he more than lived up to the billing in his lone season as a Wildcat. He averaged 15.6 points — including a career-high 30 against in-state rival Arizona State — and 7.2 rebounds per game on 42.3% shooting from three-point territory.

When the lights shone brightest, Markkanen played his best — averaging 20 points while shooting 47.1% from beyond the arc, leading the Wildcats to the Pac-12 Tournament title. He became more well-rounded in the three games of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 15 points and 8.3 rebounds on 50% shooting from the field.

He was named First-Team All-Pac-12 and Third-Team All-American.

3.) Promising Potential
It took Markkanen precisely five games in the NBA to prove his worth. He averaged 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds on 41.7% shooting from deep, including two double-doubles in the opening month.

He ended his rookie season averaging 19.4 points per game in the final month, being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and setting himself up for a bright second season.

In the best year of his career, Markkanen averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game in his second season — all of which were career-highs.

After a myriad of injuries in the past couple of years, Markkanen is finally healthy and resembling his old self — an excellent sign for Jazz fans.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 02: Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls blocks a shot by Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during the first half at United Center on January 02, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

4.) Extensive National Career
Markkanen announced himself to the world when he first appeared for the Finnish Junior National team at the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, leading the team with 18.2 points per game.

He proved it wasn't a fluke at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, averaging a tournament-high 24.9 points per game while being named to the All-Tournament team.

Markkanen was promoted to the Senior National team in 2017, playing at EuroBasket 2017. He led Finland to the round of 16 after averaging 19.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in six games.

5.) Impressive Lineage
To say Markkanen comes from an athletic family would be a massive understatement.

His parents, Pekka and Riikka Markkanen were both professional basketball players — with Pekka being named the Finnish Basketball Player of the Year in 1989, 1993, and 1996.

He also has two brothers, both of whom are professional athletes. Miikka is a former professional basketball player, while Eero is a professional soccer player for HIFK.