Coming into Summer League, Thon Maker had very little experience against players of NBA and D-League calibre, so it was difficult to gauge any reasonable expectations for him. Just over a week later, Thon leaves Las Vegas having been selected in the All-NBA Summer League Second Team with his high energy play generating a lot of excitement among Bucks fans. Based on what you’ve seen, which aspects of Thon Maker’s game have impressed you the most? Where does he need to develop/improve and how do you think Milwaukee will use him during the regular season?
Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11): Some of his stats were nice but I’m not willing to invest too much stock in the thankless black hole that is Summer League numbers. Instead, I’m going to give what’s probably a pretty boring answer to this one.
Since the draft, we’ve heard the Bucks do so much talking about Maker’s work ethic and we’ve heard him offer up so many nice soundbites about effort and desire. That was all great and a nice way to win many fans over on the pick, but I still really wanted to see if he could live up to those measures when he got on a court. The best part of Summer League for the Bucks was the fact that he proved that talk of his work ethic and commitment were very real.
He wants to win and he wants to be involved. Really badly. That’s great, and it’s the kind of detail which means I can now start to envision a role towards the back of the rotation for him. This year won’t be about Thon Maker showing everything that he may one day be able to do, but if he can provide energy, effort and a reliable contribution, he’ll get the minutes needed to start to feel comfortable and work on his flaws.
Ti Windisch (@TiWindisch): Definitely the most impressive thing about Thon thus far has been his awareness and quickness for me. As much as we make fun of it for being lesser basketball, Summer League is the highest level of competition Thon has ever faced. There were quiet concerns that due to his young age and lack of experience that Thon wouldn’t be able to keep up with the competition.
Well, he did more than keep up. Thon finished tied for sixth among 2016 first round picks in Summer League in points per possession, ahead of players like Dragan Bender, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. He’s still raw in NBA terms, but Thon Maker will find minutes next year.
Jordan Treske (@JordanTreske): By far, what impressed me most about Maker’s game is his motor and energy. Obviously that’s been long associated with his game for awhile now, but it didn’t have an effect on me until I saw him play an actual game (yes, I know I’m counting Summer League games as actual gameplay) and while it’s more of an expectation than a skill, it’s not hard to see Maker making a positive impact with second effort plays right away next season.
Looking elsewhere, Maker showed some positive signs as a shooter and a defender, but it’ll be interesting to see how those hold up over the course of an 82-game season. There’s no doubt Maker will play in a limited role next year, but I think that’s the best thing for him at this point as he adjusts to the NBA game and lifestyle.
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