jazz forward Laurie Markkanen Returned to United Center on Saturday after career performance.

Markkanen scored 49 points on Thursday to lead the Jazz to the Rockets, but he didn’t even go with the game ball.

“I felt a little sorry for giving away the game ball [rookie guard] ochai fireBut I meant, “Jazz Coach will hardy Told. “In a game we needed to win, he plays early in the fourth quarter and gets 11 big points. I thought it showed that he was just as big a part of our win as Lowry’s 49. ”

It’s a sentiment that reflects the Jazz’s organization and a culture that brought out the best in Markkanen, whose rights were included in the 2017 trade the Bulls acquired from the Timberwolves on draft night. Jimmy Butler, the bulls also got guards zach lavin And Chris Dunn in dealing.

Since being traded from the Bulls to the Cavaliers in 2021, a little more than a year after the Cavs to the Jazz, Markkanen has found he can hit the All-Star ceiling he was once expected to reach in Chicago.

Markkanen ranked seventh among frontcourt vote getters in early fan polling for the All-Star Game. His teammates and coaches are working hard to make his first All-Star appearance, at the morning shootaround wearing ‘The Finisher’ sweatshirt. Hardy continued his performance for the pregame.

“Laurie understands that she not only has the support of herself and the coaching staff in the organization, she [also] He’s got the support of his teammates,” Hardy said, looking down at his sweatshirt with Markkanen’s face on it. “He’s earned it.”

Markkanen entered his first season with the Jazz averaging a career-high 24.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. In his four seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds.

bulls coach Billy Donovan And Hardy shared similar sentiments about Markkanen’s development, attributing it partly to the experience he now has.

“I always thought he had tremendous skill and great size,” Donovan said. “A smart player, he had a lot of different things he could do. But I think as many players grow up and go through things, he is at the peak of his career.

Donovan further said that expecting every player’s game to immediately translate into a productive NBA career is a lofty thought. While there are exceptions to every rule, most players need timing, and Markken is an example.

”I’m not sure [what Markkanen’s ceiling is],” Hardy said. ”I think that’s the beauty of it. I’m pretty proud to say that we haven’t seen it yet. He has shown this season that he really has the ability to improve and learn very quickly.

injury update

hub Tony Bradley Entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols after taking some time away from the Bulls for personal reasons. Donovan said he is feeling fine.

Donovan also said that he is not overly concerned about a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

“Listen, it’s probably going to happen,” Donovan said. “We’re not testing until someone feels like they’re really sick. , , , Our medical personnel have done a good job of saying, ‘If you’re feeling something, feeling anything, please come to us.’ ,

further javonte green Missed his 12th game with pain in his right knee. guard alex caruso He missed the second game in a row after spraining his right ankle on Wednesday against the Nets.

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