The Smoking Cuban

Why Lauri Markkanen Could Replace Dirk in Dallas

March 18, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) moves the ball against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
March 18, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) moves the ball against the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first half in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dallas Mavericks own their 9th overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft. Would it be smart to plug the trigger on a big guy by the name of Lauri Markkanen?

A lot of mock drafts surrounding the NBA which updates almost weekly has a sweet shooting power forward by the name of Lauri Markkanen, going between the 8th-12th pick in this year’s draft.

Now I understand that there may be several criticisms out their surrounding Markkanen regarding his lack of defensive ability, but I think we should look past that and see what positives he could bring to the team.

I would like to make a case for why Markkanen could be a big contributor for the Mavs now and if it will it be enough to convince Dallas to pick the smooth shooting Finnish forward.

Feb 11, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) shoots over California Golden Bears forward Ivan Rabb (1) during the second half at McKale Center. Arizona won 62-57. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 11, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen (10) shoots over California Golden Bears forward Ivan Rabb (1) during the second half at McKale Center. Arizona won 62-57. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports /

Offensive Ability:

Shooting – Markkanen has been touted as the best shooting big man in the draft. Heck, possibly even the best shooter in the draft period. According to ESPN’s stat line, Lauri has averaged 42.3 % on triples, and 49 % from inside the 3.

He has solidified himself as a top draft prospect, and his game offensively emulates somewhat of that of Dirk Nowitzki. Now, let’s not get excited with the comparison, because we all know no one can become another Dirk.

His height will give him advantages on the wing when he puts up a contested three. He has the ability to space the floor and allow for the offense to flow smoothly.

Markkanen was an absolute dead-eye from beyond the three-point line throughout most of his tenure at Arizona.

Post Moves – He is not particularity known for his inside presence, however he has shown potential in his right hook in his back-to-the-basket game down low.

Markkanen could use some work on developing his much needed post game and build on his strength in order to compete with some other stretch 4’s and 5’s in the NBA.

Dallas desperately needs help on the boards, even with Noel, adding a stretch 4 like Markkanen is crucial, but his physical attributes needs work.

Range – This area seems to be his bread and butter. Markkanen has excellent range and seems like he will be more then able to adapt to the NBA three point line and potentially further.

The Mavericks would love to have more outside shooting to help out Wes Matthews and Seth Curry. If he can transition his outside game efficiently in the NBA, which I believe he can do, then he could blossom into one of the best offensive stretch 4’s for years to come.

Defensive Ability:

Let’s start off with some of the positives that I have seen when looking at Lauri Markkanen.

Blocking – Markkanen has potential to be a decent shot blocker because of his height and relativity good speed. His ability to guard the paint is questionable, but his ability to learn from the Mavs coach Rick Carlisle could prove to fix some of those weaknesses as he grows.

On-Ball Defense – This area can be tricky to evaluate. He is an OK defender. But he still has a ways to go before he can guard smaller guards in the future. I suspect that having Noel beside him during the game can help the Mavs recover from a defensive misstep.

It is important that he learns as much as possible from Dirk offensively as he can, and from Noel defensively. With help from the coaching staff, Markkanen has the tools to grow in this category as well.

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Rebounds – His rebounding game is fairly decent, however he lack’s overall strength which will cost him board’s defensively in the NBA. Markkanen seems to be missing the aggressiveness of a big man to want to grab boards.

This may be okay for the Mavericks with Noel being the defensive anchor, but it is important that he works on getting up to strength with other NBA big men in order to compete physically.

Strength – As mentioned above this has to be his biggest downside which may cost him going early in the draft. Markkanen must bulk up physically if he want’s to compete at a high level in the NBA and be successful.

I expect if the Mavericks do draft him that it will be a top priority for the big man in order for him to make a greater impact on the court.

Overall Conclusion:

The Maverick’s will have a choice on June 22nd if they would like to find a future point guard, or find a replacement for the legendary Dirk.

Today’s NBA is building to compete with the Golden State Warriors. If the Mavs want to be successful, they will need to add firepower to their line up for the future. Stretch 4’s are the future of the game.

Next: NBA Draft Roundtable: Sleeper Picks for the Mavericks

Dirk was one of first ever of his kind. Now is the time to find someone to fit the mold of the new NBA prototype of the power forward position. I truly believe if all of the top 5 PG’s are not available by the 9th pick, Dallas must heavily consider drafting the Finnish sharp shooter.

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