For those fantasy basketball players who have either selected their teams or are set for drafts in the near future, things just got a bit interesting with one big name. Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen is primed for a big season, but it seems he won’t be on the court right out of the gate.
As The Athletic’s Shams Charania revealed, Markkanen suffered an elbow sprain and will miss up to two months.
It’s certainly interesting, as the young forward is a player on the rise and the type of fantasy option capable of doing a bit of everything. With this news, the Bulls could go a few different ways to replace him, but we’re going to take a look at the impact the injury has on his draft value.
When to Draft Markkanen
Prior to the injury, Fantasy Pros had Markkanen with an average draft position (ADP) of 54.7, so in 12-team leagues, the fifth round. Obviously, likely missing the first month of the actual NBA season hurts, but it shouldn’t drop his value a massive amount. If Markkanen’s max time sidelined is two months (from this point), there’s a chance he could be back earlier.
Based on some of the names below him going around the fifth round, I’d drop Markkanen into somewhere between the sixth or seventh rounds, depending on scoring. Playing it safe would result in holding off until the seventh round, but if you really want the Bulls forward, there’s little chance he’ll last that long.
Potential Replacements on Bulls
As things stand, if you haven’t drafted yet, you’ll likely want to grab one of Chicago’s big men in a later round. I wouldn’t go crazy trying to jump up and land someone like Bobby Portis, but his value increases a bit due to the injury. Also, if Portis plays well, he could carve out an even larger role of the bench and turn into a solid fantasy asset.
Two other names get a boost, one of which is rookie Wendell Carter Jr., as he may be thrust into a larger role right out of the gate. It’s unknown exactly how the Bulls will utilize him early, but it’s tough to envision him seeing minimal playing time after his strong preseason.
Carter is a fun name to target and has an ADP of around 90, but Jabari Parker may become the biggest name to watch out of anyone. While both Portis and Carter are coming off draft boards a bit later, the Bulls’ free-agent signing is going just two rounds after Markkanen (ADP of 78.3).
If Parker is pushed into a bigger role immediately and Markkanen misses a full month or so of action, then he could be worth selecting a round earlier than he’s currently going.