Finnish Yle has a story about Markkanen today: https://yle.fi/urheilu/3-10913993
The headline reads "Lauri Markkanen is tired of losing in NBA, has has set tough goals: "I'll be disappointed if this doesn't work out"
He wants the Bulls to be a playoff team, and to be a superstar.
Since the end of the season he's spent time in Finland, the first four weeks away from basketball. (I happen to know what Markkanen was up to through friends. He told a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago that he hasn't had much basketball activity. Another guy I know works at a gym that has a basketball court, and said Markkanen had been there for a few hours every day shooting the basketball. I guess that's "away from basketball" for him...)
- I have concentrated on developing my body. Althought I have spent a lot of time hitting the weights, I'm not aiming at gaining mass. I've also been shooting a lot, to become more consistent, every shot should be the same. I've been working on improving my ballhandling too, Markkanen says.
He has been healthy the whole time.
Markkanen is aware of the expecations on him as a key piece in the Bulls' rebuild.
- The pressure is always there, but it's a good feeling. I play my best under pressure. It's an unbelievable feeling. The person putting the most pressure on me is myself. I'm aiming at being the best version of myself, I give everything in the practices and on the court, and outside the court I try to do things as well as possible. Leave no ifs.
His presonal goal is making it to the All Star -game.
- It's been my goal for a long time. If I don't make it in this year, I'll be disappointed in myself. There's a bit of extra motivation for the season there. But team comes first. The only way in to the All Star team is to win, and winning is a team effort. I'm tired of losing, we've lost enough. You never get used to losing, and you shouldn't either.
Markkanen has been somewhat inconsistent, and he is aware of that.
- It's one of the greatest challenges of NBA, how to keep a high level of game night in, night out. I have been working on how to keep the same standard of quality every day, both mentally and physically. NBA has the best players in the world, you just can't give any handicap.
The goal of the team, according to Markkanen, is to make it to the playoffs.
"Now we're going to start playing winning basketball" - Bulls coach Jim Boylen 15. Dec. 2018