By: JED LYNEIS
Thon Maker. Thon freaking Maker. I remember watching his highlights when I was 16 and thinking, “Dang this guy is gonna be good.” He had the speed and athleticism to blow by any defender while simultaneously keeping his balance even for his extreme height. Now let’s fast forward 5 years into the future to now. Now Thon is in the NBA and he is on The Bucks.
Coming out of highschool, kind of, Thon was known to be a work in progress. However there was trust within the organization that the development team could make it work. Remember when they drafted some lanky guy from Greece? If any team could make this work, it’s Milwaukee.
I have heard some rumblings, (mostly on twitter), about how Thon is a bust and a waste of a draft pick, that his development is slow and why is he not as good as Kevin Garnett said he would be! I for once completely disagree. The real waste of a pick is DJ Wilson but that can be talked about at a different time. Thon is a project so it will take time, maybe a lot of time, to make him into a consistent starter in the NBA. He is skinny and looks like a deer in the headlights whenever he sees a defender or a ball coming at him. However we should not give up on him just yet and here is why:
- Thon and Giannis are different players.
Every single fan of the NBA, including myself, has compared Thon to Giannis and thinks that they can be the same player because of their freakish size and speed. People think that Thon can develop just like Giannis and soon be a superstar. Thon is not being fed the ball on a terrible team. Giannis was. Thon is being pressured into being good now while Giannis was able to take his time and his mistakes didn’t matter as much.
2. Thon plays out of position.
It is really tough to gain muscle especially at the insane size that Thon is. I give him the effort for trying but as he gets stronger and tougher, so do his opponents. Centers are made to be the toughest and strongest men who will use their physical tools to rebound and bully themselves to the basket. Thon cannot do that yet. While the NBA is a heavy 3 point shooting league, the center position is vital for a team to prosper. Whenever the Bucks play a team like Detroit or Oklahoma City or even Charlotte, our centers get the breaks beaten off of them because they are nimble and quick, instead of wide and strong. Thon should be playing the stretch 4 position. If he is not setting screens up top he is already sitting in the corner waiting for a kickout. If the Bucks paired him up with a dynamic, physical center the results will be tremendous. A stretch 4 is someone who can sit on the outside and knockdown a 3, while also being able to defend almost any position. Thon’s size and speed are able to help him defend any position. With him being a stretch 4 he also gets to defend smaller guys which he can bully around instead of him getting bullied. Thon Maker must play Power Forward if the Bucks want to be a championship team.
3. The Kid is still young.
He is only 21 years old now. Heck, I am older than him by four months and I have yet to peak in the world of sportswriting. Let me show you some ages of when players first became all stars:
Steph Curry: 25
James Harden: 23
DeMar DeRozen: 24
Goran Dragic: 31
DeMarcus Cousins: 24
As you can see these players are much older than Thon when they became some of the best in the league.
4. Thon needs to play in the G-League.
My final point is quite obvious. Thon needs minutes. Thon also needs confidence. Remember when Giannis threatened to punch Thon if he didn’t shoot? (Here it is if you don’t remember:http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/03/giannis-antetokounmpo-punch-rookie-thon-maker-advice-overtime-bucks-milwaukee-win.) Thon needs this confidence again. The way to develop this is through the Wisconsin Herd. He can go down and run the show. There are some tough and physical defenders in the G-League and playing against them can only do good for Thon. His mistakes would not be as critical, the stakes are not as high as they would be in the NBA. He can find his game and figure out a way for it to transfer into the NBA.
I plead with you bucks fans, do not give up on Thon just yet. Your Patience will be rewarded.
Bucks in Six,