Will Markkanen Finally Break Out? White in Five Years, Gafford Grinding, and Other Bullets

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Will Markkanen Finally Break Out? White in Five Years, Gafford Grinding, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bulls

It’s raining. It’s pouring. NBA fans are snoring.

The FIBA World Cup starts for Team USA in under a week, so at least we’ll get some consistent basketball to watch. Although, after the team lost a game against Australia for the first time in Team USA’s history (this broke a 78-game win streak), I’m not feeling too high on this group right now.

  • This is a fun one (and easy one … but a fun one):

  • But let me get this straight: You’re asking if I’d rather start my franchise with a 22-year-old seven-footer who can drain three-pointers and probably average a double-double, OR … Kyle Kuzma? Yeah, I think I know who I’m picking. Honestly, I believe Kuzma is (and will be) a really solid role-player, but he’s already 24-years-old and has nowhere near the same ceiling as a guy like Markkanen. Fortunately, it appears the majority of commenters have sane basketball minds and understand The Finnisher is the better choice here. Also, where’s your cool nickname at Kuzma?
  • Speaking of Markkanen, our friends over at NBC Chicago Sports recently wrote about why the young power forward has the potential to be the face of the franchise. The entire piece is a strong overview of Markkanen’s career thus far, reminding all of us just how good the young Bull can be.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • What I find most interesting is that even though Markkanen has put together several attention-grabbing performances over his first two seasons, it still feels like we haven’t had that breakout moment. Bulls fans may believe otherwise, but when stepping back and looking at things from a holistic-NBA perspective, Markkanen still has a lot of work to do to gain the respect he (probably already) deserves. Last February he went off and averaged 26 points with 12 rebounds, but the team went 4-5 and the season was already long gone. We’ve called it out before, we know what Markkanen’s capable of, but does he? The Bulls need Markkanen to WANT to make a statement in the NBA. The only way he becomes the clear face of this franchise is if he’s up for the challenge. We’ll learn whether or not he is this season.
  • Zach LaVine is another player who has the potential to steal the show in Chicago. Thanks to Twitter, you can see plenty of fans aren’t sold on LaVine quite yet, but he appears ready to prove those folks wrong. NBC Chicago Sports Mark Strotman went ahead and discussed why LaVine’s role this season will look different from this past year. With more depth and better talent, LaVine will not need to be as ball-dominant as he was last season, BUT that doesn’t mean at times he shouldn’t be. I expect to see even better shooting from LaVine this season thanks to the quick play and ball-movement on the team’s agenda. I’m not sure LaVine will post the 23.7 points per game he did last season, but he might be able to improve in other areas to confidently make the case for an All-Star game (most importantly, defense).
  • Hoops Hype has been pumping out these awesome top-scorer graphics for several teams. How fast Michael Jordan passes everyone up is kind of funny, but then that’s followed by no change in the top-10 for about a decade.. so then we’re sad again.

  • I agree with this statement.

  • Oh, wow, Daniel Gafford content!

  • With all the offseason buzz surrounding Coby White, the Bulls second-round draft pick has definitely been pushed aside. Although, I guess he was pushed into the gym because this man is putting in WORK. The center position may have some depth now with the signing of Luke Kornet, and the expectation for Markkanen to play a bit more at the position, but there’s plenty of room for Gafford to earn minutes behind Wendell Carter Jr. if he keeps #grinding.
  • Why, thank you, I’m always prepared for a Jordan-Pippen Dunkathon.

  • I guess we should feel semi-happy the Bulls helped give the Raptors, probably, one of their top-5 moments in franchise history.

  • Sports are great.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.