The Hornets absolutely need to sign Lauri Markkanen
This move makes a lot of sense for the Hornets. They have been using PJ Washington as a small ball power forward for the last couple years and could use they size of someone who is a little more natural for the position. Markkanen would be major upgrade, standing at seven-feet tall and shot around 40% from deep in the 2020-21 season. He should be the number free agency target for the Hornets as of right now.
The league is a lot about spacing now and with this possible addition, the Hornets can follow the trend of the rest of the NBA. Even if Lauri Markkanen is not utilized as the power forward spot, you can always slide him to center to keep a good shooting big man on the floor. Not to mention he will be the perfect player to have in pick & pop situations with LaMelo Ball.
It provides the Hornets young point guard with a true scoring big man and every point guard should have the luxury if possible. Lauri Markkanen only averaged just under 14 points last season, but put up 18.7 points in the 2018-19 season, so he has shown the ability to be a reliable scoring option. Chicago had an influx of bigs the past couple seasons, so a change in scenery might be ideal for him.
If signed he, will come in right away and have an impact. No matter what the Hornets want to do in terms of their starting lineups, Markkanen’s presence will help other guys like Gordon Hayward or Miles Bridges get easier looks. He will be able to draw the attention of any defender that will have to guard because of his ability to knock it down from deep. Also, he is only 23 years old, so he still has a ton of room to grow. With his size and frame, he has the potential to be an elite shot-blocker.
For the Hornets’ front office, this would be a great addition to their young core. They have the reigning Rookie of the Year in Ball, a good 3 & D guy in Bridges, and then they can add a skilled big man on the inside with a smooth stroke.
A move like this can propel the Hornets into playoff contention, assuming that they are able to build chemistry over time. Michael Jordan and his staff need to take a chance on this kid now and go all in, ASAP.