San Antonio Spurs: Potential Roster Impacts of Lauri Markkanen Interest

Dec 15, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen (24) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 15, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen (24) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
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San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs

Mar 17, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) and Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) go for the ball during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

4-5 punch of Markkanen and Poeltl is a two-way twin tower

Both Markkanen and Poeltl are 7-foot big men who have contrasting but complementary styles. On offense, the former gives San Antonio a rangy big that can rebound. On defense, while he is limited, his height permits him to be a sound team defender. Although, Gregg Popovich will certainly demand a lot from the big man on D together in tandem with Poeltl, who is already one of the league’s best interior stoppers.

Pundits have always harped on Jakob’s iffy finishing, but spacing is once again a culprit here. His pick and rolls with DeJounte Murray or Derrick White sometimes results in a miss, especially when the non-shooting threats allow help defenders to tag the roll man.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/04/14/0022000831/72/6626c0fe-5331-a9ed-e215-c446fcb4c84f_1280x720.mp4

In theory, having Markkanen space the floor for Poeltl means not only better shot qualities for the Austrian big man, but also a reliable drive and kick option. One of Jakob’s most notable traits is his knack for finding open perimeter players. It may also invite more cutting actions for Lauri, who is sneakily mobile and not content simply standing on the perimeter.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/02/01/0022000315/81/01115275-2326-4ba0-345b-798829746abc_1280x720.mp4

Poeltl’s rim protection and Markkanen’s offensive versatility could be an excellent combination. They’d fit well together on both ends of the floor and the possibility of playing the two together with San Antonio’s existing group of slashers is one of the most compelling arguments why the Spurs should make a sizeable offer to Markkanen this summer.

Next. Spurs: Top 5 2021 first-round draft targets

Given the positive roster effects, adding Lauri Markkanen is a move that should be counted on as success for the San Antonio Spurs. The team is not a free agent destination, and locking up a young talent with unlocked and tremendous potential will give the organization another cornerstone to build on, signaling a complete move to rebuilding for the team’s goal to be back to basketball royalty.

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