The Utah Jazz are probably going to miss out on the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2016. They wouldn’t be anywhere close to contention if not for Lauri Markkanen, who on Sunday added to his stellar performance this season with a feat never before accomplished.
The former Arizona Wildcats star had 23 points in a 111-110 loss at the Brooklyn Nets, Utah’s sixth loss in the last seven games. Markkanen was 8 of 21 from the field and just 1 of 8 from 3-point range, but that lone triple late in the third quarter that gave him 200 for the season.
He also has dunked more than 100 times in 2022-23, making him the first player in NBA season with 100 dunks and 200 3s.
&— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 2, 2023
The Finnisher becomes the to achieve both in a single season. #TakeNote | @MarkkanenLauri pic.twitter.com/8Y8XV29rAr
The 7-foot Markkanen has been indispensable this season for the Jazz, entering Sunday averaging career bests in scoring (25.7 points per game), field goal shooting (50.1 percent), 3s (199), rebounds (561), assists (121) and free throws (343). He’s started all 66 games he’s played in for Utah, two shy of his career high set in 2017-18 with the Chicago Bulls.
Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in 2017 by the Minnesota Timberwolves (who immediately dealt) him to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler/Zach LaVine trade, is finishing up the second year of a 4-year, $67.47 million deal he signed with the Bulls in 2021 before they traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A member of the UA’s 2016-17 squad that reached the Sweet 16, Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Wildcats that season while shooting 49.2 percent overall and 42.3 percent from 3.