For a 2nd time, Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen will take part in the Rising Stars game
CHICAGO – While it has been far from a good year for the Bulls, at least one of their players will take part in All-Star Weekend in 2019.
For a second-consecutive season, forward Lauri Markkanen has been named to the World roster for the Rising Stars game. It will be played during All-Star Weekend at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, with the game tipping off at 8 PM CST on Friday, February 15th.
Markkanen was named to the game despite missing the first month-and-a-half of the season with an elbow injury. Even with a coaching change and some growing pains, Markkanen is still averaging 17.2 points per game with 7.8 rebounds a contest.
That earned him the spot on the World team for the Rising Stars game along with the Sixers’ guard Ben Simmons, Mavericks guard Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Raptors guard OG Anunoby (United Kingdom), Suns center Deandre Ayton (Bahamas), Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanović (Serbia), Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Nets forward Rodions Kurucs (Latvia), Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria) and Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (Turkey).
In last season’s game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Markkanen came off the bench to play 22 minutes, scoring 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting with six rebounds.
So how did Markkanen celebrate the achievement? By setting a career-high in rebounds, grabbing 19 of them on Tuesday night against the Nets in Brooklyn. It bested his previous high of 17, which came on January 22, 2018 against the Pelicans in New Orleans, but it wasn’t enough as the Nets beat the Bulls 122-117.
Starters for the All-Star Game have already been named, which as expected didn’t include any members of the Bulls. Only Zach LaVine (22.9 points per game) figures to have any shot of being named to the team, but at the moment it looks like a long shot on a team that is 11-40 through 51 games.
But at least one member of the Bulls will get a chance to represented the franchise at the NBA’s annual mid-season showcase.