Is Lauri Markkanen the next Most Improved Player?

The 7th overall pick from Arizona, currently in his 5th year in the league, is a sensation for the Utah Jazz. In a season where everybody thought they will tank for Victor Wembanyama, because of their off-season actions, in which Danny Ainge traded both of their star players, Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson propelled the Jazz up in the rankings early, that coming as a shock for everyone. It remains to be seen if they can keep the same pace until the end of the season and snatch the playoffs. It won’t be easy, for sure, but if they managed to get to 13 wins in their first 24 matches (occupying the 7th spot in the West for the moment), there are signs they can make some damage.

Lauri Markkanen looks like he is the next Dirk Nowitzki with his shooting ability. He can score from mid-range, off the turn-around, and he has improved his outside shot, so given his very tall stature (2.13 m), if he gets his shot going, there is not much you can do as a defender. The Finnish is the main reason for Utah’s early success, and if he continues to maintain his rhythm, there is no doubt that he will get the Most Improved Player trophy. He is averaging 22.2 PTS, 8.5 REB, and 2.2 AST on 53% FG%. From 3-pt land, he has an almost 40% field-goal percentage.

Comparing these stats with his previous year spent with the Cavs, we see improvements in almost all categories, except the steals; he improved in efficiency (both from 2-pt and 3-pt), points-per-game, rebounds, assists, and blocks. If he will be used in the right system with a strongly built roster, Lauri Markkanen can be a valuable asset in a successful organization, whether it be Utah Jazz or other teams that want and have the potential to contend.