Markkanen missed part of last season due to a right elbow injury, but the 22-year-old still showed promise by averaging 18.7 points, nine rebounds and 32.3 minutes in 52 contests.
“I think (management) did a really good job drafting and getting high character free agents,” Markkanen said about his team’s success in free agency. “Everybody is coming along really well in our workouts. I’ve played against Thad. He’s a really good player. He’s very physical. And what he really does is lead vocally. I’ve really enjoyed talking to him and working out with him.”
The goal for Chicago now, Markkanen explains, is using its new roster additions to make a long-awaited push for the playoffs next spring.
“That’s our goal,” Markkanen said. “Personally for me, just missing the playoffs and having such long offseasons, that’s a bummer. I would love to be in the playoffs. We’re just focused on improving every day.”
There’s more from the Central Division tonight:
- Free agent guard Jordan Crawford has been working out with the Pistons ahead of training camp, according to Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops (Twitter link). Crawford has made past NBA stops with Golden State, Boston, Washington and Atlanta.
- Bulls coach Jim Boylen has a chance to exercise his well-documented hard-nosed culture with the team at training camp, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Boylen took over head coaching duties when Fred Hoiberg was dismissed last December, with the second-year head coach having his first opportunity at running the franchise’s camp before the season.
- In a different story for The Chicago Sun-Times, Cowley examines five potential Bulls storylines this upcoming season. The Bulls did a number of things to improve their team this offseason, including signing veterans, improving the bench, and successfully dealing with injuries.