Thon Maker is a power forward/center from Athlete Institue. Maker is 7’1 and has a wingspan of 7’3. For the year, Maker played six games, and he averaged, 29.0 points per game, 14.2 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game, 3.7 blocks per game, 1.0 steals per game, while shooting 56.6% from the field, and 31.6% from three.
- Developing set of post moves
- Potential stretch five
- Draws a lot of contact
- Good free throw shooter
- Good ball handling skills
- Good court vision
- Great passer out of the post
- Shot blocking potential
- Size and length
- Great motor
- Needs to bulk up considerably
- Interior defense
- Foul prone
- Defensive awareness
- Interior offense
- Shooting mechanics
- Turnover prone
- Level of competition
Thon Maker was not supposed to be part of the 2016 Draft Class, but after issues with the NCAA, here we are. It is hard to scout a player, who is clearly better than the teammates around him, and then struggled against former college players at the combine. Maker has a long way to go to become an NBA caliber player, so many hopped he would have gone overseas at the least to improve himself.
On offense, Maker is developing all the skills to be an offensive threat from anywhere on the court. Inside the paint, Maker has a nice set of hooks and fadeaway jumpers, which at his size are nearly impossible to stop. The problem for Maker is the lack of strength he has, and this causing hi to not be able to get position downlow. As well as struggling getting position, Maker struggles against physical players, as likes to try to play more finesse basketball. When it comes to his jumper, Maker prefers to stay out of the paint, and camp in the mid-range to three point line. His mid-range is pretty consistent for a big man, but his three point shooting lacks any sort of consistency. Maker also has a very slow shot, which will become a huge issue in the NBA. Another issue with Maker staying out of the paint is the fact he does not have the best hands, and looks clumsy trying to gain possession, which could lead to more turnovers. As a ball handler, Maker did a lot of it in high school, but this should be limited once he is a professional. He would often become turnover prone trying to take it up the open court. He does have good court vision, so expect his passing ability to transition to the next level.
Defensively, Maker is going to be a work in progress. Maker lacks a great deal of defensive awareness, and just looks out-of-place and clumsy. In the interior, Maker has no ability to hold down his man, and be backed down with ease by stronger players. Even as a rim protector, Maker tries to go for the highlight reel blocks, and will often get in foul trouble, or give an easy look to his opponent. Maker really thinks he is a small forward in a center’s body, but when it comes to perimeter defense, he has no lateral quickness to guard today’s perimeter player without getting in early foul trouble. In terms of rebounding, Maker is not a very good fundamental rebounder. He is much better on the offensive glass, where he uses his teammates misses to accumulate a lot of his own high percentage shots. He has a willingness to fight for the boards, he has just not be coached properly on how to do it the correct way, and with his physical attributes, he should be dominating the board.
As an overall, Maker is farther away from contributing than many of the other international prospects. His offensive game is extremely raw, and at his size, not being able to dominate the post is a big red flag. He is not a consistent threat from deep either, so it will be hard to find a role for him for many teams. Defensively, his inability to control his body will likely get him in foul trouble easily. There is no denying his shot blocking ability, as he possess the natural instincts to be effective at any level. In terms of draft stock, the craziness of the draft could have Maker getting drafted really high, but in reality, I see him going in the 20-30 range. A team like Philadelphia, who have an ample amount of selections, and a roster to allow him to develop freely would be the best fit for him, as he continues to grow as a basketball player.
Pro Comparison: Myles Turner
It was very hard to find a good comparison for Thon Maker. Comparing him to Myles Turner, Maker is a very raw form of this, and would not give any sort of production we saw from Turner this year. Both players have star potential within them, but they were raw coming out of school, and need a coaching staff who will mold their weaknesses into strengths.
On offense, both players like to shoot from mid-range. Turner was not the most accurate three point shooter, much like Maker in high school, so I do not see this becoming a reliable threat for Maker for a few years in the NBA. In the paint, neither player has a very developed set of post moves, but they have moves to get the job done. They mainly work as a clean-up/dunk style player in the post. As passers, Maker shows better overall court vision, and could find his teammates out of the paint. Maker is the better ball handler, but this overconfidence in his handles does lead to turnovers, you do not see Turner commit.
On defense, both players struggle with overall defensive awareness, but are excellent shot blockers. In the post, their skinny frames can get bullied by bigger, stronger players, but their length makes it hard for those same opponents to get a shot off. Both players have decent lateral quickness, but nothing quick enough to guard the perimeter effectively against quicker, smaller players. Turner and Maker are and will be good shot blockers in the league, even if that is the only defensively skill Maker develops. In terms of rebounding, neither player is as dominant as they should be, as they lack the clear fundamentals, and try to rely on their length to secure boards.
Myles Turner really emerged halfway through his rookie season. Unfortunately, Maker looks to need at least two more years of development before he could give Turner type rookie numbers. The good thing is Maker is so young, and many teams in the 20-30 range are looking for stash players to keep their salaries down. Maker and Turner are a new age of stretch fives, so predicting their future outlook is not easy, as they begin to set the precedent for what makes a good player at the five.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17