Former Bull completes mandatory military service over the offseason

Former Bull completes mandatory military service over the offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Lauri Markkanen, the former Bulls 7-footer, recently completed his mandatory service for the Finnish military, according to a post on his Instagram.

Markkanen, 25, reported to the Finnish military in April. The big man shaved his head in preparation for his attendance with the military, too.

Back then, he said he didn’t believe his participation would affect his training for next season. Finnish citizens are required to partake in military service before the age of 30.

“It’s mandatory, we have to do it, but at the same time we take pride in it, too,” Markkanen said. “I think it sets an example to serve. And I’m confident I can do it in a way that it’s not going to affect my preparation for next season, either.”

Surely, he’ll want to return to the floor after a monstrous season with the Utah Jazz. He averaged 25.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game to earn himself a finalist spot for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Earlier in the season, he received his first All-Star nod in the Western Conference, too.

Originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft, he spent the first four years of his career in Chicago. He averaged 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game on 44 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

The Bulls elected to trade Markkanen in a sign-and-trade move to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Derrick Jones Jr. and draft capital. Shortly after playing in Cleveland, the Cavaliers traded him to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell. There, he’s thrived and is one of the young pieces Danny Ainge and the Jazz front office hope to build around.

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