It didn’t take long for Lauri Markkanen to star in NBA All-Star Weekend.
The former Arizona Wildcat posted 15 points and 6 rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting, as Team World beat Team USA, 155-124, in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday in STAPLES Center.
The game featured the sport’s top first- and second-year players. Markkanen came off the bench for the World team, which started Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jamal Murray, and Buddy Hield.
The full box score can be found here. Here are Markkanen’s highlights (bunched with Kris Dunn’s):
The 7-footer from Finland is having quite the rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, averaging 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 30.3 minutes.
One writer at Sports Illustrated said that “if we re-drafted the 2017 draft, I think Markkanen would be my first pick.”
Of course, Markkanen was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and traded to the Bulls on draft night in a deal that included All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.
Markkanen’s time at NBA All-Star Weekend isn’t over yet, as he will compete in the NBA Skills Challenge on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST on TNT.
While in the area, Markkanen took a visit to Long Beach State to catch up with former Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack, whose UC Santa Barbara team took on LBSU on Thursday:
Great having @MarkkanenLauri at our game tonight! Future NBA ALL-STAR pic.twitter.com/doAJQMjlIK— Joe Pasternack (@Joe_Pasternack) February 16, 2018
Pasternack was Markkanen’s lead recruiter at Arizona.