The Chicago Bulls may be 0-3, and they lost a tough game to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, but not all is bad. Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen put on a show in Cleveland in their 119-112 loss last night which impressed the King himself. The 20-year old Finn scored 19 points with eight rebounds while shooting .583 in 32 minutes of action.

Markkanen is one of the big pieces of the Bulls future, and so far is averaging 15.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game to begin his NBA career. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and came over to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler deal.

Last year he played with the University of Arizona and impressed many people then, which made the expectations for him high coming into the NBA.

Big night in Cleveland

Markkanen has been starting at power forward for the Bulls with Bobby Portis out. He came storming out of the gates last night which helped give the Bulls an early 38-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. While the team slipped up defensively the rest of the way, giving up 91 points the next three quarters, Markkanen kept up with his impressive play. Of his 19 points, he made five of eight shots behind the three-point line and was the second-highest scorer on the team behind Justin Holiday.

LeBron James in the postgame interviews was quoted by ESPN's Nick Friedell saying, "[Markkanen is] A very confident kid, shoot the heck out of the ball.

He's going to continue to get better. The best thing about it is he's getting an opportunity. If he makes mistakes, he can learn on the fly, but he's going to play a lot. He's good."

James had previously talked about Markkanen's impressive showing at Arizona and how he watched him closely when he played there. Markkanen told Friedell that James was an idol of his growing up and that playing against him was a "dream come true." Getting praise from your childhood idol and the best basketball player in the world is an excellent way to begin an NBA career.

Looking ahead

The rookie has already signed a multi-year deal with the Bulls through the 2020-2021 NBA season (final two seasons are team options). There is no doubt he is solidified to be not only part of the rebuild but the center of it. There will be growing pains, as is the case with rookie players, but the upside he is showing gives Bulls fans hope.

In other team news, 23-year old point guard Kris Dunn is set to return from injury later this week. He was recovering from an injury he sustained on October 6 when he dislocated his left index finger. He will be eased into games to start his season with Jerian Grant currently slated as the starting point guard. He may play in Thursday's game against the Atlanta Hawks or not until Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.