Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen declares for NBA Draft

By | July 21, 2017

Lauri Markkanen is the latest freshman to take his skills to the pros.

The 7-foot Arizona forward has opted to forego his sophomore season and declare for the NBA Draft, the university announced Thursday.

Markkanen made the most of his lone season at Arizona, playing in every game for the Wildcats while averaging 30.8 minutes, 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The Finland native also sunk an impressive 42.3 percent of his three-point attempts, despite his enormous size.

Markkanen, who turns 20 in May, is projected to be a top-10 pick.

The idea of Bridges as a prospect is currently much stronger than the reality of him. In theory, Bridges is a 6-7 3-and-D guy with go-go-gadget arms who can defend and knock down shots. In reality, he really doesn’t have a ton of game yet with which to work unless things go exactly his way.

He struggles to defend bigger players, as Nigel Hayes showed over the weekend, and he has no game off the bounce if teams run him off the line. These are both parts of his game that he can improve by returning to Villanova and working with assistant coaches like Ashley Howard, known as one of the better developers of guards in the country. But right now, there are a lot of parts of his game that are missing to where it would be tough for me to select him in the upcoming draft.

Due to some poor free agency decisions, they were also in a tough spot as far as improving their talent level. Davis still has three years after this one remaining on his contract, but that’s not as far off in NBA years as you’d think. Had the team continued to struggle building around him, we’re only about 18 months away from when trade rumors would have started to pop up about the 2017 All-Star Game MVP.
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