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Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen struggling to find answers amid shooting slump

Lauri Markkanen

Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen has shot 38.5 percent from the field through his first 10 games of the 2019-20 season. After it appeared midway through last year that Markkanen was on the precipice of taking the next step toward stardom in the league, his drastic downturn has been startling.

During a discussion with The Athletic, Markkanen addressed some of his early offensive struggles.

“I just try to make the right basketball play,” Markkanen said when asked if he was being too unselfish. “I know I can be more aggressive at times. But I wouldn’t call it too unselfish.”

After taking 25 shots in the team’s first game of the season, Markkanen had a three-game stretch where he managed not to log double-digit shot attempts. After firing up 15.3 shots per contest in 2018-19, that number is down to 12.2 this year.

“I’m just trying to make the right play,” Markkanen said. “And that’s been our emphasis on offense and defense, trying to go from assignment to assignment. I always think if there’s an open guy, try to get the ball to him.”

Chicago, who has committed to rebuilding their roster from the bottom up, has opened the year with a 3-7 record. Along with Zach LaVine, Markkanen is a key cog to the team’s restructuring and his progress is vital to the team returning to the postseason for the first time since the 2016-17. He’s likely to continue seeing ample opportunities moving forward for his offensive game to grow, although how quickly that happens remains to be seen.