T-wolves draft UA's Markkanen; trade rights to Bulls - Tucson News Now

T-wolves draft UA's Markkanen; trade rights to Bulls

Lauri Markkanen. (Source: Associated Press) Lauri Markkanen. (Source: Associated Press)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

University of Arizona standout Lauri Markkanen was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the seventh overall pick of the NBA draft on Thursday, June 22.

But even before the Timberwolves called his name, the Finnish big man knew he was headed to another midwestern basketball town.

Markkanen will start his NBA career in Chicago as a result of the Bulls trading all-star swingman Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and his draft rights.

Markkanen, who played only one year in Tucson, was expected to be a top-10 pick after his record-breaking season.

He averaged 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds per game for the Wildcats and shot .423 on 3-pointers and .835 on free throws.

Markkanen finished in the top five in UA freshmen history in scoring, rebounding, 3-pointers, free throws and free throw percentage.

He is the highest drafted Wildcat player since 2014, when Aaron Gordon was taken No. 4 by the Orlando Magic.

Markkanen's selection gives Arizona five top-10 picks since 2008. 

The 7-foot, 230-pound Markkanen may be joined in the draft by a former teammate.

Kobi Simmons, a guard from Atlanta, was projected to be a second-round pick. He averaged 8.7 points and 1.6 rebounds per game for the Wildcats as a freshman.

A player who was almost a Wildcat was expected to be draft Thursday night as well.

Terrance Ferguson committed to Arizona but decided to play pro ball in Australia.

The 6-7, 185-pound forward was projected to be a top-20 pick.

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