Latest posts by Ben Stinar (see all)
- Stinar: As Sixers head to playoffs, Hawks laying the groundwork - March 24, 2019
- Interview: Jazz’s Allen still adjusting to NBA life at NCAA tourney time - March 22, 2019
- 5QT: Hawks, Jazz have plenty on which to hang their hopes - March 22, 2019
INDIANAPOLIS — Thon Maker was a mystery entering the 2016 NBA Draft, as the first player taken from high school since 2005. At just 21-years old the former 10th overall pick is already in his third season.
This year the narrative is going to be an NBA Finals appearance or bust for the Milwaukee Bucks. They have an accomplished coach in Mike Budenholzer, and arguably one of the five best players in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
LeBron James’ decision to heading west also ramped up the expectations for the Bucks’ pursuit of an Eastern Conference banner.
“It’s tough,” Maker told Amico Hoops after the Bucks’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. “You just gotta stay in it, stay ready, keep getting better that’s the most important thing. By yourself, team environment, you always gotta find away to stay ready and get better.”
Maker is 7-foot-1, he can handle the ball, shoot, do a little bit of everything. Those traits are rarely seen in someone so tall. But right now, Maker is serving as just a role player.
“So far just being in a role where you’re a role player type of thing, where you gotta come in and play the defensive end,” Maker said. “Haven’t really shown much on the offensive end besides every now and then catch and shoot. I haven’t put the ball on the floor in terms of making plays or to score.”
Maker is averaging just 12.3 minutes per game, a notch lower than last year, when he averaged 16.7 minutes. He indicated he has learned plenty from Budenholzer as well as former Bucks coach Jason Kidd.
“There’s a lot of things I learned from each of them,” Maker said. “Coach Kidd did his offense a certain way and he payed attention on both ends of the court, but coach Bud cares more about on the defensive end for us. Get stops, get out, and then on the offensive end playing with one another.”