Carlisle Has High Praise for Lauri Markkanen

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 01: Lauri Markkanen
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 01: Lauri Markkanen /

Ahead of the Mavericks home game against the Bulls on Friday, Rick Carlisle sheds light on their view of Markkanen before the draft.

With the 9th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected Dennis Smith Jr. out of N.C. State.

This was a move that the Mavs were ecstatic about at the time and still ecstatic about now.

They have their point guard of the future.

On draft night, two picks before the Mavericks, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a blockbuster trade by shipping out the 7th overall pick in the draft with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine for Jimmy Butler and the 16th pick in the draft.

Now, the Chicago Bulls were on the clock with the 7th pick and they selected Lauri Markkanen.

Even though Dallas got their guy in Smith Jr., Rick Carlisle had high praise for the pre-draft workout of Lauri Markkanen when he spoke to reporters before the Bulls game at home in Dallas.

“Markkanen had as good of a pre-draft workout, I should say individual workout that I’ve ever seen,” Carlisle said. “He shot the ball phenomenally well. I have never seen a guy be as efficient in shotmaking from both mid-range and long-range in the workout. The only other guy that shot in anywhere close was [Luke] Kennard.”

As far as where he was on the Mavs draft board, Carlisle admitted he was high on their list.

“He was high on our list but we knew he was likely to go before us,” Carlisle said.

This wasn’t the first time Carlisle spent time praising Markkanen though. The day before, after the Mavericks practice, Carlisle said that Markkanen would be a future All-Star.

For the prospect that has drawn comparisons to a young Dirk Nowitzki, this is high praise coming from the coach of the Mavs.

On the season, Markkanen has exceeded the expectations of many by being the second leading scorer and team leader in rebounds per game. Many expected Markkenen to have a slow adjustment to the league, but he has been one of the main reasons for the Bulls turnaround over the past month.

Next: New Years Resolutions for Mavs Fans

Now, the kid gets his dream matchup as he goes head-to-head with Dirk Nowitzki for the first time.