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KSL Sports Live Exclusive: Jazz Forward Lauri Markkanen Talks All-Star Season

Feb 13, 2023, 3:34 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 12:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Jazz forward and first-time NBA All-Star Lauri Markkanen sat down with KSL Sports Live’s Jeremiah Jensen for an exclusive interview.

Markkanen and Jensen’s full-length interview aired on KSL 5 TV one week before the Jazz forward plays in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. The Finland native was recently named an NBA All-Star Game starter.

RELATED: Lauri Markkanen Named To First All-Star Team

During the discussion, Markkanen talked about becoming an All-Star for the first time, working through adversity early in his career, and what posterizing dunk has been his favorite this season.

First, Markkanen detailed what allowed him to take a step in his game from last season to earn an All-Star nod in his first year with the Jazz. The forward credited his time in EuroBasket, as well as his teammates in Utah.

It wasn’t long ago that the Arizona product was being called a bust for his time in Chicago and Cleveland after being a top-10 pick five years ago.

“Well it was difficult,” Markkanen told Jensen about his ability to stay positive through the low points of his early career. “Now, it’s easy…but as a 21, 22-year-old, when that adversity hits it’s not the easiest place to be.”

Not only has the forward matured off the court but he’s taken his game to another level on the hardwood.

This season, Markkanen is averaging 24.8 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting, including 41.8 percent from beyond the arc. He ranks 17th in the league in scoring. Markkanen also averages 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, and 0.6 steals in 34.2 minutes per contest. The forward has played in 53 games for the Jazz this season.

“I’m a believer in ‘everything happens for a reason,'” Markkanen said.

For more on Markkanen’s interview, watch the video at the top of this article.

Utah’s next game is on the road against the Indiana Pacers on Monday, February 13 at 5 p.m. (MDT). The game can be heard on KSL Sports Zone.

About Lauri Markkanen

Prior to his NBA career, Markkanen was a standout player for the Arizona Wildcats. Markkanen played at Arizona from 2016-17.

After his college career, Markkanen was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. His draft rights were traded to the Chicago Bulls following the selection.

RELATED: Lauri Markkanen Named All-Star Starter After Injury Dropouts

Markkanen played for the Bulls until 2021. In August 2021, Markkanen was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a sign-and-trade deal. Markkanen played one season with the Cavs.

In September 2022, Markkanen was traded to the Jazz as part of a package headlined by NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell.

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