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  • Writer's picturejohn kepler

Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen wins NBA's Most Improved Player award

Lauri Markkanen is currently completing his mandatory military service in Finland

It took a move to Salt Lake City, but Lauri Markkanen finally took off in his sixth season in the league.

On Monday night, after a breakout season with the Utah Jazz, Markkanen was officially named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2022-23 season.

Markkanen averaged 25.6 points with the Jazz this season, more than 10 points higher than his average last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, both up significantly from the year before, and shot just shy of 50% from the field. Markkanen was named to his first All-Star Game this season, too, and dropped a career-high 49 points against the Houston Rockets in January after shooting 15-of-27 from the field.

Markkanen, 25, was initially selected with the No. 7 overall pick in 2017. He got his start with the Chicago Bulls and spent four seasons there before his one year with the Cavaliers. He will enter the third year of a four-year, $67.4 million deal next season.

Markkanen is currently at a Finnish military base completing his mandatory military service, something that is required for all male citizens of Finland by the age of 30. He had deferred his service multiple times already, including when he played in college at Arizona, but was able to make it work after the Jazz were eliminated from postseason contention this spring.




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