Markkanen on military service: “A good experience for me to have as a leader”

2023-10-03T14:41:18+00:00 2023-10-03T14:55:07+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

03/Oct/23 14:41

Coming out of the 2023 FIBA World Cup and mandatory military service in Finland, Lauri Markkanen returns rejuvenated to the Utah Jazz

By Johnny Askounis/

Besides averaging 24.8 points per game in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Lauri Markkanen also fulfilled his mandatory military service during the offseason. He doubled up for his home country, Finland.

Markkanen, 26, formally switched back to his NBA career on Monday. Tipping off the 2023 NBA Preseason, he linked army duties to his role with the Utah Jazz.

“It went well. It challenges you physically and mentally a little bit. But it was a good experience to have. I had good times and made a lot of friends,” he described profits, “It is a good experience for me to have as a leader moving forward.”

Extending basketball activities to the eventful offseason saw Finland rank 21st overall in the World Cup.

“A different thing”

Markkanen replied to multiple questions about serving his country in the summer. Obviously, it was a different situation compared to sinking buckets and leading by example on the court. Nevertheless, he can use the learnings with his teammates, especially considering plans to develop additional leadership qualities.

“It made you uncomfortable at times, and I kind of learned how to get through that stuff. On the basketball court, we all know what that looks like. That was like totally a different thing to kind of learn new skills and kind of how to get through the situation, individually and then as a group,” he said, “I think that was the challenging part, being expected to lead and survive with the stuff that I’ve never done before.”

After producing 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks per contest, he was named the Most Improved Player of the NBA in 2022-23. The 2023-24 campaign will be his second with the Jazz, seventh overall in the league. “He is a leader now,” head coach Will Hardy referred to Markkanen, “I think he’s ready for that role.”

Opening the Preseason schedule, the Jazz will meet the Los Angeles Clippers in Hawaii next Sunday and Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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