Over the summer the NBA team over at NBC Sports undertook a fun project in which they ranked the top 50 talents in the NBA in 2024.
NBCSports.com's 50 best players in 5 years list is an interesting snapshot into the future of the league. Writers included Dan Feldman, Tom Haberstroh, Rob Dauster, Tommy Beer, Steve Alexander, and Kurt Helin.
While it is was fun to see where aging versions of Steph Curry (36 in 2024) and Klay Thomspon (34 in 2024) rank, the most interesting names on the list were the young talents who are projected to stars in the near future. Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen made the top 35, coming in at No. 34 on the list.
In the 2024 season, Markkanen will be 27 years old and theoretically, smack dab in the middle of his prime.
Coming into the 2019-20 season, 'The Finnisher' is on quite a roll. In his age-21 season, he averaged 20.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes and posted a career-best 55.3 true shooting percentage.
The Bulls will need to Markkanen to step up his effort in terms of defense and rebounding, with the absence of Robin Lopez putting more stress on the frontcourt to pick up the slack in that department. Kurt Hellin acknowledged that if he can focus on consistency and commitment to D, the sky is truly the limit for Markkanen.
The question is, can he [Markkanen] reach that ceiling consistently? He's only 22, but he has yet to come anywhere near that.....If Markkanen can become a more consistent offensive force and better on the defensive end - he's not a bad defender, he's okay, but with his length and athleticism he should be a better rim protector - he can take over the role as the alpha on the Bulls
See the rest of NBCSports.com's 50 best players in 5 years list below:
Lauri Markkanen makes the top 35 NBCsport's 50 best players in 5 years originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago