How Will Lauri Markkanen Fit on the Cavs?

How Will Lauri Markkanen Fit on the Cavs?

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 years ago
2 min read
How Will Lauri Markkanen Fit on the Cavs?

There are plenty of questions about this year’s Cavs and doubts from the outside as well. This is a team that has not made the playoffs without LeBron James on the roster since 1997-98. And with the young roster they have here, it could be another year or two.

Among the young players is a new acquisition, Lauri Markkanen. A native of Finland, he had an up-and-down four-year run with the Bulls. But in a new home now, he hopes to be a key part of the team for years to come after inking a four-year extension prior to the deal.

Pros of Markkanen

When a 7’0 player is capable of knocking down shots at a high rate, it’s a tremendous thing. Usually, he can shoot over the top of any defender and take it inside as well. With Markkanen, Cleveland found a guy who is pretty much immune to perimeter defense if he can just find enough space to fire up shots.

During what was clearly a down year in 2020-21, he still made over 40% of his threes. Markkanen is tremendous off the catch-and-shoot and should figure to get plenty of looks with Darius Garland and/or Ricky Rubio on the floor. He needs to be kept in rhythm so he can maximize his impact each game.

During his sophomore season, he averaged nine rebounds per game. He’s capable of pulling them down and boxing out effectively. Those totals have slipped a bit, but knowing he’s able to do it should be the kick that Lauri needs.

Cons of Markkanen

Each of the past couples of years, Markkanen has spent time on the shelf with various ailments and injuries. And each time he went down, it allowed the team to try other things and fill his spot with other players. In the long run, it caught up with him, as he had a huge demotion last season.

After being a starter for most of his first 3.5 years, he became a reserve in the backend of the season. And his aggressiveness tailed off right along with it. He didn’t seem happy with the situation and added very little for his team.

And the rebounding could be a real concern. Markkanen pulled in just five per game a year ago, after averaging nine two years prior to that. He needs to get back to asserting himself, or the fit may not be so good.

Projected Role

Lauri Markkanen’s best position is undoubtedly power forward. He spent most of his time in Chicago as a PF, a position he should take over in Cleveland as well. He will be competing with Evan Mobley and Kevin Love for those but figures to play 20-25 a night.

Considering the team traded Larry Nance Jr. for him and gave him a four-year deal, there is some level of confidence in Lauri. They will be throwing him out there often in a sixth-man role.

The fit is still to be determined, but there is a chance that he fits like a glove. The team did need a shooter, and they found one.

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