Chicago Bulls: 3 biggest concerns heading into next season

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls Lauri Markkanen
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Will Markkanen back up rookie year performance?

Markkanen burst onto the scene as a rookie, impressing from his very first start, when he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Toronto Raptors. He never looked back the rest of the season, becoming the fastest rookie to make 100 three-pointers in a season. He also became the first Bulls rookie to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds since Elton Brand.

He finished his rookie campaign averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, knocking down 36 percent of his three-pointers. The No. 7 overall pick exceeded most fans’ expectations and is widely regarded as one of the league’s rising stars.

Yet, lurking in the background is a phenomenon that has plagued many high-performing rookies of the past. While it is certainly more prevalent in football, basketball players are not immune from the Sophomore slump.

Rookies can sometimes catch the league by surprise. However, teams now have an entire season of film on last year’s rookie class. The key will be for Markkanen to continue to expand his game. He must also recognize his tendencies and try to avoid telegraphing his moves.

Markkanen does not strike me as a player who could fall victim to the second-year regression just due to his versatile skill set and tireless work ethic. Reports are that Markkanen has been putting in the work this offseason and is expected to come back even stronger in 2018-19. However, there is always a chance, as there is with all rookies, that they take a step back in year two.