Milwaukee Bucks: Trade value power rankings ahead of the deadline

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 31: (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 31: (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – DECEMBER 22: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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6. Thon Maker

By now, everyone knows that Thon Maker has asked the Bucks to trade him to another team. Normally, this would drive down a player’s value as it takes away the team’s leverage.

In this case, though, it doesn’t affect Maker’s value much and he remains the Bucks’ best asset outside of their starting five.

The crux of Maker’s trade demand is lack of playing time. Maker has appeared in just 35 games and averaged 11 minutes per game. He hasn’t played in six of the last nine games, all of them because of a coaching decision.

Simply put, he’s lost his spot in the rotation to Wilson, who came out of nowhere and is currently a better defender and shooter than Maker.

When Maker has played, he has performed a little better this year. He’s shooting better from the field and three-point range, and he’s scoring more per 36 minutes as well.

But it’s hard to gauge if the uptick in productivity is actually from Maker’s personal development or just the benefit of playing in Budnehozer’s system. Judging by the eye test, it’s more about Budenholzer than Maker.

It’s still true that Maker has loads of talent and potential. He’s tall, athletic, has a smooth-looking jumper, won’t turn 22 until February 22 and has three years of NBA experience already, including in the playoffs.

He’s also still on his rookie contract until the end of the next year, and a change of scenery, and more playing time and room to grow, could do wonders for Maker.

When Maker was drafted and was with the team for the first couple of years, he was developing more or less side-by-side with the Bucks team. This year, it seems as if the team has passed him by and it’ll be hard for him to see the court without a rash of injuries.

But, if Maker can’t get on the court, how is he to improve?

Another team, looking for young, cheap and hungry players to play during a rebuild, like perhaps the Memphis Grizzlies or New Orleans Pelicans post-Anthony Davis, should be willing to take a chance on Maker.

I wouldn’t expect any trade with Maker this season, with Lopez’s upcoming free agency and injuries to Ilyasova, but perhaps next season or in the summer Maker could get the trade he’s looking for.