Lauri Markkanen continues to make history during his impressive rookie season, and he added another accomplishment Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets.
Markkanen grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes to give him an even 500 for the year. The 500-rebound mark, combined with the 1,013 points he has scored this season, makes him the first Bulls rookie since Elton Brand in 1999 to go for 1,000/500. Brand won Rookie of the Year, becoming the first rookie since Tim Duncan (1998) and Shaquille O'Neal (1993) to average 20 points and 10 rebounds as a rookie.
And while Markkanen won't win Rookie of the Year (sorry Donovan Mitchell fans, it's Ben Simmons), he's actually in the midst of an historic rookie campaign.
Consider this: Since 1979, when the NBA introduced the 3-point line, 108 players have scored 1,000 points and grabbed 500 rebounds in their rookie season, Markkanen becoming the latest on Monday. That makes Markkanen's rookie season impressive in its own right: 108 players have done so in 39 seasons, or 2.7 players per season.
Consider also that the last players to do this, the company Markkanen is joining, are Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins.
OK, let's have some fun and include some of the 108 who have done it: Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Ralph Sampson and Willis Reed.
But we're burying the lede here. Markkanen is new age NBA. The stretch forward is becoming a necessity, not a luxury, for NBA offenses. So consider the real stat here:
Before Markkanen, none of the 107 players to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds had made 110 or more 3-pointers in their respective rookie seasons.
But Markkanen has done that. Easily. He's made 140 3-pointers. With a game to go. There are non-rookies like him, and more players like him will enter the NBA moving forward, but it's also safe to say that there's never been a rookie season quite like Markkanen's.
To put that 1,000/500/140 mark into perspective, here are the players who have accomplished it this season: LeBron James, Dario Saric, Markkaken.
Yep. Safe to say Markkanen is on the fast track to stardom. History says so.