Milwaukee Bucks: Takeaways From Loss To Dallas Mavericks

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports /

Extended Maker Minutes

After his career-high, 23-point heroics against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, Thon Maker found himself in a larger role in Jason Kidd’s rotation once again.

Having only been very recently reduced to an almost farcical, token starter role where he was playing a maximum of five minutes to start each of the first and third quarters, regular minutes throughout the game remain something of a new experience for the rookie.

In 20 minutes of play in this one, Maker demonstrated both the good and the bad of the current state of his game.

The 20-year-old went 5-7 from the field and made his only three-point attempt, as he showcased a soft scoring touch with an efficient output. Exploiting the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Nerlens Noel offensively is one thing, but the struggles Maker faced against that duo on the other end may tell us even more about his current abilities.

Due to his rail-thin frame, conventional wisdom has always said that larger, more physical big men would present Maker with unsustainable matchups, but neither Nowitzki or Noel really fit that bill.

Maker was torched by Nowitzki early on, as the German used all of his skill and experience in exploiting the rookie’s tardiness in closing out beyond the three-point line, while Noel’s more athletic style around the basket equally caused problems for the Bucks center.

As the regular season winds down, it’s clear that Maker has a solid range of offensive abilities, but I’m not sure there’s any center in the NBA who he matches up well with on defense at present. That makes his minutes distribution a challenge going forward, in spite of his impressive contributions offensively.