Lauri Markkanen

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2017/18 season. Ben Simmons of the Sixers and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz – widely viewed as the top two contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received 99 of 100 potential First Team votes.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2017/18, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

  • Ben Simmons, Sixers (200)
  • Donovan Mitchell, Jazz (200)
  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics (199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Bulls (173)

Second Team:

Jackson, who received one First Team vote to go along with 43 Second Team votes, narrowly beat out Bam Adebayo of the Heat for the final spot on the Second Team — Adebayo finished with 44 points.

Outside of Adebayo and the 10 players who earned spots on the All-Rookie teams, 14 other players received votes, with De’Aaron Fox (Kings), OG Anunoby (Raptors), and Jarrett Allen (Nets) leading the way among that group.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Parker, Korver, Bulls

Despite Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeting that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was not the primary object of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert’s frustration over the failed trade that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City last summer, Oladipo implied that Gilbert’s comments add some extra motivation for Indiana in its first round series against Cleveland, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said after the Pacers win in Game 1. “But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”

As for the series itself, many observers declared Oladipo to be the best player on the floor during Game 1, even with LeBron James on the other sideline. Oladipo credits his team’s effort – something seemingly often lacking for Cleveland – for his and the Pacers’ success this season.

“We’ve been playing like this all year,” he said of the Pacers. “Been playing hard on both ends all year. It just hasn’t been magnified. So it’s the playoffs now, we’ve been doing this all year. Now everybody sees, so it’s like, it’s kind of shocking to everybody, I guess you could say. But we’ve been playing hard. We’ve been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks almost pulled out a victory against Boston in Game 1, but forward Jabari Parker wasn’t much of a factor in his first career playoff game, going 1-for-5 with two points in just 15 minutes of action. Per Nick Friedell of ESPN, Milwaukee is confident Parker will bounce back in Game 2.
  • It’s been a tough last couple of months for Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver, writes Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer. Korver tragically lost his younger brother Kirk due to complications from a sudden illness in March, then missed additional games with a right foot injury upon his return to the team. The 37-year-old veteran is ready for Game 2 though, saying “I feel like it’s been a very complicated month in my mind, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m ready to play.”
  • Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago take a stab at grading the 2017/18 Bulls backcourt and frontcourt in two separate articles. Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, both frontcourt players, received the best grades on the team.

Central Rumors: Tolliver, Griffin, J.R. Smith, Markkanen

Power forward Anthony Tolliver would like to stay put but his future with the Pistons is uncertain at best, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. Tolliver, 32, quickly emerged as a rotation player in his second stint with the franchise and posted career highs in field-goal percentage (46.4) and 3-point percentage (43.6), Khan notes. But Tolliver becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Pistons still have Jon Leuer, who missed most of the season with an ankle injury, and Henry Ellenson at that spot behind Blake Griffin“I’ve been here longer than anywhere else in my career and would love to keep that going,” Tolliver told Khan and other beat writers. “But at the end of the day, got to see what’s up this summer.”

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Griffin told his Pistons teammates during their postseason meeting that he wants to be the leader of the team, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com relays. Griffin arrived in a late January trade with the Clippers and feels he needs to take more responsibility. “It’s a role that he should and does embrace,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It’s not he and Chris Paul. Clearly, he’s the most accomplished guy on our team to this point. Five-time All-Star. Guys look up to him, so people are going to be looking at him and I think he wants that.”
  • Former starters J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson are candidates to return to the starting five for Game 2 against the Pacers, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue confirmed to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other media members. Smith scored 15 points off the bench in Game 1, while Thompson made just a cameo appearance. “We’ve been talking about it as a staff,” Lue said. “I just know those guys have been through everything with us the last four years and we won a championship, went to three finals. Tristan and J.R. played a big part of that. We understand that and trust me, we know that.”
  • Bulls rookie forward Lauri Markkanen will play for the Finnish National Team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the end of June, Sportando reports. He averaged 15.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 29.7 MPG during his first NBA season.

Injury Notes: Gallinari, Celtics, Giannis, Markkanen

Danilo Gallinari, identified this week by head coach Doc Rivers as the player the Clippers have missed the most this season, is targeting Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee for his potential return, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times, who passes along comments Gallinari made to Italian outlet Sky Sport. The veteran forward indicated that he hopes to get back on the court after the Clippers’ current road trip ends, but before the end of this month.

Gallinari, the Clippers’ major free agent addition of 2017, has been limited to 19 games this season as he has battled a variety of injuries. His latest ailment, a right hand fracture, has sidelined him for the last month.

Here are a few more injury notes and updates from around the NBA:

  • There likely won’t be an update on Kyrie Irving‘s status today, a league source tells Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Mannix reports that the Celtics should know more within the next day or two about Irving’s ailing left knee. The team did get some good news on Jaylen Brown, who said today that he’s feeling better and hopes to play on Sunday in Sacramento (Twitter link).
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo left Wednesday’s game against the Clippers with a right ankle sprain. While no recovery timetable has been announced for Antetokounmpo, the Bucks figure to play it safe with their franchise player. He is considered doubtful to play on Friday vs. Chicago, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Lauri Markkanen, who last played for the Bulls on March 11, is optimistic about playing in that Friday game against Milwaukee, says K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links). Markkanen, battling a back issue, likely wouldn’t be available on Saturday in Detroit if he plays on Friday, Johnson notes.
  • Traded from Cleveland to Los Angeles at last month’s deadline, Channing Frye appeared in just one game for the Lakers before undergoing an appendectomy. However, the veteran forward is set to return to action on Thursday night against New Orleans, per Bill Oram of The Southern California News Group (Twitter link).

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Payne, Dunn, Markkanen

It’s possible that Zach LaVine has played his last game of the 2017/18 season. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details, the Bulls announced on Wednesday that LaVine – suffering from tendinitis in his left knee – will be re-evaluated in five to seven days. If the Bulls don’t see enough progress by that point, they may shut LaVine down, but he’s hoping to avoid that outcome, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

“There are still some games to get in a rhythm before getting into the offseason and working out,” LaVine said. “I always want to hoop.”

It has been something of a lost season for LaVine, who missed the first half while he recovered from ACL surgery, and has only played 24 games for his new team. His .383 FG% in those games is easily a career low, but the Bulls probably don’t mind not getting much from LaVine this year — they acquired him with an eye on the future, and are still fully expected to lock him up to a long-term deal as a restricted free agent this summer. His modest 2017/18 showing may even keep his price down a little for the club.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • Cameron Payne didn’t fit well last year on a Bulls roster that featured Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler, but he has looked like a better fit since returning from his foot injury this year, says K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Payne, who is under contract for 2018/19, says he’s still working to prove that he deserves a regular role on next year’s squad. “I have to keep showing people I belong,” Payne said. “Everybody had their opinions of me already. It’s tough to change someone’s opinion.”
  • While Payne figures to play a role next year, Kris Dunn is still viewed as the Bulls’ point guard of the future, Johnson writes in a separate article for The Tribune. “Just looking at that (December) stretch where we were playing really good, as well as anybody in the Eastern Conference for that time period, Kris was as good as anybody on our roster,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “So we really think he has a bright future with us.”
  • Dunn, LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen – the three players acquired from the Timberwolves in last year’s Butler trade – are viewed as the Bulls’ core building blocks, but they barely saw any action together this season, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. According to Goodwill, in the limited minutes that all three players were on the court this season, they had an offensive rating of 97.5 and a defensive rating of 119.2, numbers which raise more questions than they answer.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/6/18

Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:

  • The Pistons sent recently acquired forward Brice Johnson to their G League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. Johnson had previously played 23 games of action with Agua Caliente, the Clippers’ affiliate.
  • The Lakers have recalled center Ivica Zubac from South Bay, the team announced in a press release. He has averaged 21.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his stints with the affiliate.
  • The Cavaliers have brought Ante Zizic back up from a stint with the club’s G League affiliate in Canton, the team announced in a press release. Zizic has seen action in just 12 games with the big league club this year.
  • The Bulls assigned Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to their G League affiliate today, with the intention of recalling them after practice, the team announced in a pair of tweets.

Bulls Notes: Nelson, Allen, Grant, Dunn

Newly acquired Bulls Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen shouldn’t get too comfortable in Chicago, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Both players served as salary fillers in the deal that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, and neither may remain with the Bulls after Thursday’s trade deadline.

‘‘We now have a situation where we’re invested in these young guys,’’ said VP of basketball operations John Paxson. ‘‘Our focus remains on growth and development of them. This is consistent with what we set out to do on draft night.’’

The term “young guys” doesn’t describe Nelson, who turns 36 next week, or Allen, who reached that age last month. They may be able to provide short-term help for a contender, but they don’t have a place on a rebuilding team like the Bulls. They also carry affordable, expiring deals, with salaries of about $1.43MM for Nelson and $1.47MM for Allen.

There’s more news today out of Chicago:

  • Cowley suggests in the same piece that Paxson would be willing to move anyone on the roster except Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn in exchange for a young player or draft pick, even if it means taking on a large salary in return. That’s what the Bulls did in the deal with the Pelicans, absorbing Omer Asik‘s contract to obtain a top-five protected first-rounder from New Orleans. “To acquire a [protected] first-round pick in the trade for Niko I think fits the direction this team is heading,” Paxson added. “Obviously, we’re going to have our pick, which will be a very high pick, and then we’ll see what happens with that New Orleans pick.’’
  • The Thunder have talked to the Bulls about acquiring Allen, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Oklahoma City needs defensive help in the backcourt after a ruptured patellar tendon knocked out Andre Roberson for the rest of the season. Chicago has been offering up point guard Jerian Grant around the league for several weeks, Johnson adds.
  • An illness has complicated Dunn’s return from a concussion he suffered January 17, Cowley writes in a separate story. Dunn was progressing through the early stages of concussion protocol before getting sick. He has been ruled out for Monday’s game at Sacramento and may not play again before the All-Star break. Dunn still needs to finish the protocol and get some practice time before he will be cleared to return.

Central Notes: Bulls, Wade, Parker

The draft day trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota is starting to pay dividends for the Bulls, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. With Zach LaVine‘s return nearing, the overall haul the franchise got in return for its outgoing star is starting to round in to shape.

Both Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn have shown that they could be long-term Bulls building blocks in their own right, the former stepping up with 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a rookie and the latter showing the sheer, raw promise that made him such a highly touted lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Markkanen’s emergence has come quicker than expected thanks largely in part to the double-whammy that hit the Bulls prior to the regular season. When Bobby Portis decked Nikola Mirotic in practice before the season opener, the 20-year-old Finn was thrust into the starting lineup. To this point, he hasn’t looked back.

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • While it may have taken slightly longer than planned, the G League affiliate of the Bucks‘ will see their new arena open in Oshkosh, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The Wisconsin Herd played their first three home games in the big league club’s stadium.
  • The Bucks brought in special assistance to help develop Jabari Parker while the 22-year-old recovers from an ACL injury, Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Former NBA head coach Frank Johnson impressed Jason Kidd during his tenure with the Suns back in the nineties and now works closely with the injured forward.
  • There was apprehension in the Cavaliers‘ locker room that the addition of Dwyane Wade would disrupt team chemistry, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes. In his own question-and-answer feature, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com sheds some light on which players, specifically, may have initially resisted the addition.

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Mirotic, LaVine, Nwaba

Rookie Lauri Markkanen will keep his starting job when Nikola Mirotic is cleared to return, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Coach Fred Hoiberg confirmed that decision before tonight’s game. The seventh overall pick in this year’s draft is off to an impressive start, averaging 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds through his first 11 games.

Markkanen got a chance to start after Mirotic suffered two broken facial bones in a scrimmage altercation with Bobby Portis. With Miotic injured and Portis suspended, an opportunity opened up for Markkanen. “[The situation] gave me a bigger chance right away,” Markkanen said. “But I’m glad to have Bobby back and hopefully Niko back. I have to do my work on the court and prove that I can be a starter.”

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Mirotic’s Concussion, Surgery

A solid string of performances throughout his first week as an NBA pro has Lauri Markkanen turning heads. Most recently, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes, the rookie out of Arizona has impressed Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

He’s going to continue to get better,” James told the media. “The best thing about it is he’s getting an opportunity. If he makes mistakes, he can learn on the fly, but he’s going to play a lot. He’s good. It seems like he’s learning. He’s a good player.

In three games with the Bulls so far, Markkanen has averaged an impressive 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He’s done so in matchups against an array of formidable teams: the Spurs, Raptors and Cavs.

While much has gone wrong for the squad so far this season, the good news is that they seem to have nailed the draft pick that came with their offseason Jimmy Butler trade. Of course the better Markkanen plays, the harder it will be to relegate him to the bench when sidelined teammates Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis return to action.

That’s a challenge the organization is happy to face.

There’s more out of Chicago:

  • LeBron James wasn’t the only Cavaliers player to speak highly of Lauri Markkanen. As Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes, he impressed Dwyane Wade as well. “You can see if a guy knows how to play basketball when you first see him, right away. In the preseason, we all said he can play. No matter his age he can play. He’s aggressive. He understands they need him to score,” Wade said.
  • After showing this summer that he’d like to remain in Chicago, Nikola Mirotic‘s camp suggested that his stance may not have necessarily changed, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. That being said, there’s growing sentiment that, perhaps, he and Bobby Portis won’t be able to co-exist. As Johnson notes, there will presumably be more clarity as Mirotic recovers.
  • Speaking of Nikola Mirotic‘s recovery, the 26-year-old hasn’t yet been cleared from concussion protocol, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The forward will not be cleared for surgery until such time (if surgery proves necessary). Mirotic’s next concussion appointment will be next week.