Lauri Markkanen Named All-Star Starter After Injury Dropouts
SALT LAKE CITY – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Zion Williamson will not play in the All-Star game due to injury. Because of this, Lauri Markkanen was named an All-Star starter.
After being traded for Donovan Mitchell in September, they will both start in the All-Star game in Salt Lake City.
The Finnisher becomes an 🌟𝗔𝗹𝗹-𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿🌟
Excited to have @MarkkanenLauri as a starter in the West for the #NBAAllStar game!#TakeNote pic.twitter.com/o4N91WRlCa
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 10, 2023
Markkanen is averaging 24.7 points and 8.6 rebounds on nearly 50/40/90 shooting splits so far this season.
The last Utah Jazz player to start in the All-Star game was Karl Malone in 1998.
All-Star Starter Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen will represent the Utah Jazz at home after being selected to his first All-Star team.
Markkanen was selected by the 30 NBA coaches as one of seven reserves out of the Western Conference.
“I’m extremely happy to represent the Jazz here,” Markkanen said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Markkanen is only the second player from Finland to reach the NBA, joining former University of Utah star Hanno Möttölä. He is the first to earn an All-Star nod.
“We grew up watching the All-Star game, too, even though it’s not the normal basketball game,” Markkanen said. “That was fun to see a lot of dunks and stuff like that it was a cool thing to watch — so I’m extremely happy to be part of it.”
Jazz Swapped One All-Star For Another
The Jazz acquired Markkanen along with guard Collin Sexton, and significant draft compensation in exchange for Donovan Mitchell in September.
The former seventh overall pick out of Arizona, Markkanen began his career with the Chicago Bulls before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2021.
After trading Mitchell and Rudy Gobert during the offseason, the Jazz were expected to enter a long rebuild process. However, Markkanen’s rapid progression along with the hiring of head coach Will Hardy has greatly accelerated the Jazz timeline.
“Lauri’s done such a good job of continuing to work on different ways that can impact the game offensively,” Hardy said of Markkanen’s growth. “He’s shown the ability to shoot the ball but I think the physicality that he’s played with driving the ball, and the physicality that he’s played with as a screener that has given him an opportunity to score in a variety of ways.”
Markkanen’s selection marks four consecutive seasons that the Jazz have had an All-Star, and the eighth All-Star nod over the last four years.
Related: Travis Scott To Help Finalize Jazz All-Star Plans
Both Mitchell and Gobert were named to the previous three All-Star teams as members of the Jazz, while Mike Conley was chosen as a reserve in 2021.
The All-Star game will be held at Vivint Arena on February 19. Jazz rookie Walker Kessler was also selected to represent the team in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings