CHICAGO – There have been a lot of things that have troubled the team during a difficult first 24 games of the season, but the most troubling might have been the month of November for one of their key pieces of the rebuild.
After a decent start to the season, Lauri Markkanen endured a tough month of November in which his scoring average dipped to 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. His number of shot attempts dropped by five from October with his field goal percentage dropped by five percent.
It’s a major worry considering the forward was expected to do big things after his second season was cut to just 52 games due to a few injuries and ailments.
But the month of December has brought a little more enthusiasm on Markkanen, as his numbers have seen an uptick from his disappointing November. It’s still quite early, but a franchise in need of some optimism can at least smile over the forward’s improvement.
In four games he’s averaging 19.3 points per game while he’s taking nearly four more shots a contest, scoring 20 or more points in three of the contests. That included arguably his strongest effort of the month so far in an overtime loss to the Heat when he scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting with four three-pointers and seven rebounds.
Markkanen also had 20 points this month against the Kings on December 2nd and the Warriors last Friday.
Also encouraging is the effort that the forward’s had alongside teammates Zach LaVine, who like Markkanen is looked to as a key piece to the success of the team’s rebuild. The game against the Kings and Sunday’s against the Heat marks the only two times all season the pair have scored 20 points in the same game together.
The hope is that it would have happened a lot more in October and November, but at least it finally came around in December. Small steps from the pair, Markkanen himself, and the franchise are certainly positives in a difficult start to the season.