Opinion: Lauri Markkanen will benefit from Billy Donovan hire

Already having a rather successful career in the NBA, former Wildcat Lauri Markkanen is about to benefit from the recent Billy Donovan hire.

Ever since playing at Arizona and then being drafted No. 7 overall by the Chicago Bulls, it seemed like former Wildcat Lauri Markkanen was destined for basketball greatness.

A 7-footer blessed with size, strength and athleticism, he has done some incredible thus far, but unfortunately this past year, Lauri seemed to run into a ‘wall’. That wall seemingly being, former head coach Jim Boylen.

Despite all that talent Boylen had in Chicago, he seemed to greatly mismanage not only Lauri, but numerous others. Lauri specifically saw his production suffer as a result, and the team and organization has been abysmal these past few years.

Heck, things have been so rocky in the Windy City, that even Lauri was vocal about his displeasure and utilization in Chicago. Need further proof? Lauri went from averaging 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in 2018-19, and dropped to 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 2019-20.

Well, with Boylen now being fired this off-season and the Bulls announcing their hire of Billy Donovan on Tuesday afternoon, I feel Markkanen could stand to benefit greatly from this hire.

Look, I am not saying that Coach Donovan is one of the best coaches in the NBA, that remains to be seen. However, I do think he is a bright coach that is still relatively new to the NBA, and he is still learning and adjusting.

He found some success in Oklahoma City, and while he transitions to arguably a “worse team”, Chicago plays in a bigger market, and he does inherit some nice pieces, Markkanen in particular.

This group still has Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter, Otto Porter and Coby White and in case you need a reminder of how good Lauri can be, well here you go…

At Zona Zealots, we’re encouraged by the hiring of Donovan for Lauri’s sake, and hope he can return to his dominant form! As always, Bear Down, Arizona!