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Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen plans to work hard this summer to get his body ready for a longer season

Lauri Markkanen, Bulls

Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen plans to work hard this summer to get his body ready for a longer season in 2019-20.

Markkanen believes getting stronger will help him absorb more contact on his drives to the hoop and allow him to finish in heavy traffic:

“I know everyone says they have to work on everything, but I definitely am going to get my body ready for a longer season, hopefully a post season also,” Markkanen told Sam Smith of Bulls.com. “I said before the season my goal is to play all 82, so I’m definitely going to work on my body to get it ready and work on the court as well.

“There are a lot of things I have to do better. But being consistent is the biggest part and how can I do it every night. I think I can be stronger, it will help me on my drives and not getting bumped and posting up smaller players.”

Markkanen missed the first 23 games of the season because of a right elbow injury he suffered in training camp. Once he returned to the lineup, Markkanen was the second-best player on the Bulls, behind only shooting guard Zach LaVine.

Markkanen averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season while shooting 43.0 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from beyond the arc and 87.2 percent from the free-throw line. The stretch forward recorded 20 double-doubles.

The Bulls are building their team around LaVine, Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. Chicago’s front office is hoping all four players take the next step in their development in 2019-20.