Lauri Markkanen accepts role in Cavs’ ambitious experiment
Gifted with a number of seven-footers on the roster, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff looks to make full use of his trees. The Cavs’ coach has a bold strategy in mind, but he needs Lauri Markkanen as the piece that would make it all work.
Markkanen is a talented seven-footer who doesn’t only boast of a terrific outside shot. The young Finnish is also anything but a sloth, and this gives Bickerstaff the confidence to play him at the small forward spot for the Cavs, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
“Watching him in practice and seeing how well he moves his feet defensively and all those things, it’s one of those things where I believe he’s one of our best players.”
According to Fedor, Markkanen played small forward until he had his growth spurt. This makes the transition easier for the Cavs big man.
“I’m up to the challenge of playing the 3 on defense and I think [the] offense is going to take care of itself, but we have to get on the same page with reps in practice and in games.”
The Cavs were quite fond of big men, as manifested by their offseason moves. After drafting Evan Mobley and trading for Lauri Markkanen, the gigantic cherry on top was signing Tacko Fall to a non-guaranteed deal.
Both Markkanen and Mobley are versatile enough to make the Cavs’ plan work while Jarrett Allen will do his thing inside. They have the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers on deck to complete preseason play and determine the 24-year-old’s fit at the “three” spot.