The Bucks selected Thon Maker with the No. 10 pick of the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Maker is perhaps best known for a YouTube highlight mix that billed him as a Kevin Durant/Chris Paul hybrid early in his high school career—but he isn’t really either of those things. A Sudan native, Maker spent time in Australia during his childhood before moving to the United States, where he emerged as a high school basketball star before moving to Canada to finish his prep school career.
Having never played college basketball, Maker is an unusual prospect. But with his versatility, size and work ethic, he has a ton of upside.
Strengths: In theory, Maker is a viable stretch-four, a legit 7-footer with great agility who can block shots, enable defensive switching and be an asset to your team’s coverage. He’s athletic and has potential as a face-up shooter. Maker is also known for his tremendous work ethic, which you can’t say about every five-star high school prospect. If it all pans out, you’ve got an energy big man with a broader-than-usual skill set.
Weaknesses: There’s a lot of reason for skepticism here, as well. Even when you get past Maker’s thin build, remember he’s skipping college basketball entirely and never really faced high level competition on a regular basis. It does help that he seems to understand he’s best suited as a role player, but there are safer swings you can take that won’t require several years to pan out. Taking him in the first round could be a tenuous long-term commitment.
Grade: C-. WHOA! Here’s the first curveball of the draft. Bucks GM John Hammond reportedly coveted Maker throughout the evaluation process. That said, this feels like a reach. Maker has size, length and a developing jumper, but has never faced high-level competition on a consistent basis and isn’t ready to bang inside in the NBA. The Bucks have a glut of forwards on board already, and though Maker won’t have to be conscripted into action, they aren’t addressing a clear need here. He’s conceivably a stretch four down the line if he bulks up, but right now, he’s just a stretch.