Thon Maker Making a Name for Himself


Standing at 7’1” and weighing 216 pounds, you cannot miss Thon Maker. When you place him on the hardwood with people who have similar physical attributes, he still stands out by running faster and draining 3s at a rate most guards can’t even keep up with. Having all these qualities that stand out about Thon Maker, it is surprising that 9 teams missed out on this young gem.

Question marks filled Maker’s scouting report prior to the NBA Draft and Summer League play. A loophole in the system made it possible for Maker to skip college and declare straight for the NBA Draft after being a fifth year senior in high school. No one knew if he was mature enough to play at an NBA level, no one knew if he was strong enough to defend NBA bigs, and some didn’t even know if he was actually 19 years old. He was unproven having only played against other high school talents, but his skill set was explicitly known: a 7-footer with handles and a jump shot that plays with an extremely high motor. That is what sold the Milwaukee Bucks on picking him 10th in this year’s NBA Draft. Since then he has done nothing but prove the doubters wrong.

In his first 3 summer league games, Thon Maker has recorded a double-double in all 3. Well, correction. In the first two games, he recorded a point-rebound double-double, and in his last game he recorded a point-foul double-double (keep in mind, to foul out of the Summer League, a player must commit 10 fouls instead of the usual 6, which is a pretty impressive feat if you ask me).

In his debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Maker scored 15 points along with 13 rebounds. He showed strength underneath the rim by grabbing a total of 6 offensive rebounds, and he showed glimpses of his defensive prowess by blocking 2 shots and forcing misses on many more.

In his second game against the D-League Select team, Maker scored 17 points and collected 17 rebounds. Again, he blocked 2 shots, but this was his first game where he converted a 3-point try. He played more comfortably and with more energy than he did in his debut, as many would expect. Although his team lost, he set the bar amongst his fellow rookies after this game.

Thon Maker is 1 of 4 players who are averaging a double-double in the Summer League. Of those 4 players, Maker is the only one who is averaging more than 1.00 block per game (1.70). Maker has shown the ability to score and defend at a high level. With a standing reach of 9’3” and a 36.5-inch running vertical, rebounds will come with ease for this behemoth when he begins the regular season.

Many people think Maker will be unable to make an impact on the Milwaukee Bucks next season, but don’t get caught up in the noise. Milwaukee is becoming a special team because while most of the NBA is trying to convert to small-ball the Bucks are getting bigger. Their point guard next year is a 6’11” freak of Greek heritage. The Bucks have the potential of owning a starting five with every player being 6’8” or taller. Thon Maker is the key to unlocking all of that potential. With the way things have been going so far for Maker no one should be surprised when this young talent hits the hardwood running.


All Stats from NBA.com

About Cain Lever

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