Before Lauri Markkanen begins his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls in October, he’s playing for Finland in FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
And Thursday, he led his home country to a 86-84 overtime win against France to open up the tournament.
Markkanen tallied 22 points and seven rebounds, and took over the game down the stretch, scoring 14 points in the last 3:35 of regulation and overtime, showcasing an arsenal of offensive skill.
The 20-year-old shot 9 of 15 from the field.
Here are the highlights, which you do not want to miss:
Here’s what the folks at Blog A Bull, the Chicago Bulls SB Nation site, wrote about Markkanen’s performance.
Things really started working in the second half. Outside of a few ugly post-up opportunities (his need to add strength really showed here), he displayed a versatile offensive game. He knocked down those aforementioned 3s, hit a nice off-the-dribble jumper, threw down a putback dunk and got an easy bucket by running the floor, among other things. His confidence was sky high coming down the stretch of the game, and it was nice to see a little swagger after his second 3-pointer.
Markkanen seemed to hold his own defensively, although I admit I wasn’t watching him as closely on this end and was focusing more on his offense. He got beat a few times, but he didn’t appear to be a liability and he did a solid job challenging shots.
Markkanen and Finland are back in action on Sept. 2 when they will face Slovenia at 10 a.m. MST. You can stream that game (and all EuroBasket games) on WatchESPN.
For more on EuroBasket, including the bracket, game times, etc., click here.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire