The Curious Case of Thon Maker

We are in year two of the Thon Maker experiment. We all know the Bucks reached for Thon at the tenth pick, but they saw the upside. They saw a big man that could stretch the floor, create space for Giannis, shoot three’s, and rebound. Currently Maker is averaging 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. He has not taken the step forward that the Bucks were expecting him to in his second year. There have been games this year where you watch him and think he should be playing in Oshkosh. There are other games where you think he can be a very good pro. Right now it is important for Thon to find some consistency in the middle ground.

Image via USA Today

Thon is currently shooting 34% from three this season. That doesn’t wow anybody. It is still important however, because it makes opposing teams big men come out and guard him around the perimeter. Pulling the center out of the lane makes it easier for Giannis to attack the basket. That is very important. Thon has plenty of potential as a shooter. Something he needs to work on offensively is finishing at the rim. I’ve noticed the last handful of games that Dellavedova likes to throw lobs to Thon at the rim somewhat regularly. It is really, really annoying. Thon can’t consistently catch the ball for one and when he does he rarely finishes it. Until Thon can get stronger, his job should be to stretch the floor and open the paint for slashers.

Image via Yahoo Sports

Defensively Thon has a lot to work on as well. Let’s start with the good. He seems to be an adequate shot blocker right now. According to, Thon is only allowing opponents to shoot 59% at the rim. To put that in perspective, the leading candidate for DPOY, Al Horford, is holding his opponents to 58.8%. He obviously isn’t an elite shot blocker, but he’s respectable. Now an area where he seems to struggle mightily, rebounding. The Bucks as a whole are one of the worst rebounding teams in the Association. Thon struggles against big, physical centers. They can move him off his spot with relative ease. Effort isn’t something that Thon is lacking, but strength is. He is 7’1 but only 223 pounds. Adding muscle wouldn’t cure everything, but it would help Maker take the next step towards being the player that Milwaukee envisioned him becoming. He’s in a similar situation to Giannis. Giannis was nothing but bones when he got to Milwaukee, now he looks like the Hulk. Thon needs to get on that training program.

Image via Yahoo Sports

The bottom line is Thon hasn’t improved the way a second year player should. He shows flashes, but can’t do it consistently. What he could become is tantalizing, but he has a long way to go. I like Thon, I liked the pick when it happened, but if a team with an upgrade at center wants him as part of a trade, I wouldn’t say he is untouchable.


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