Milwaukee Bucks: The future of Thon Maker

Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Basketball IQ and Intangibles

If you watched the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this year, you may have observed the Washington Wizards get shredded, to varying degrees, by the Boston Celtics’ ball movement and intelligent cutting.

The Wizards were frequently guilty of ball-watching, as well as poor communication and awareness. A team like the Bucks, with championship aspirations down the line, needs to be fluid in the cerebral areas of the game. Play hard, play smart and don’t beat yourself.

These are areas in which Maker shines. Maker has excellent instincts. In this sequence, watch him recognize the danger as Avery Bradley cuts toward the basket. Maker challenges brilliantly as Bradley attacks the rim, denies the Celtics’ point guard a second chance, before finally tussling with Amir Johnson for the rebound.

In this next clip, watch Maker negotiate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s (admittedly half-hearted) screen, then front the post to help deny Andre Drummond the ball. Maker shows excellent timing and persistence to poke the ball away, before immediately launching down-court on the break:

Call it what you will, motor, energy or hustle, Maker has IT. The big man rarely has his head down. If he makes a mistake, he immediately tries (sometimes too hard) to rectify it.

In this final defensive clip, watch Maker get beat off the dribble as Kyle Lowry explodes around the pick. Maker shadows Lowry all the way to the basket before pinning the shot against the back board:

A lot of young big men would have lacked the inclination and the ability to track an all-star guard to the basket like that.