article written by Chris Giannotti
HIGH SCHOOL: Attends Orangeville District SecondarySchool in Ontario, Canada. He plays basketball for Athlete Institute.
WEIGHT: 220 POUNDS
AGE: 19 YEARS OLD
POSITION: POWER FORWARD/CENTER
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: HIGH TEENS TO MID 20’S
NBA DRAFT COMPARISON: DARIUS MILES
PLAYER SUMMARY: Without a doubt Thon Maker is the biggest challenge that we have had while writing these draft summaries at inthegymrange.com. His recent decision to enter into the 2016 NBA Draft isn’t surprising to us. What is surprising is that it took him this long to make his decision. After continuing his recruiting process through last year and into this spring, Maker never truly made it seem that he was seriously considering playing in college. Some of the high-major colleges linked to Maker at one time or another were Arizona State, Indiana, and St. John’s.
Maker is not a fallacy along the baseball lines of “Sidd Finch” but he honestly has been all over our draft board discussions. He has a track record of playing against solid competition, most notably for his AAU Virginia based (Team Loaded). After extensive research, it was his performance against the Georgia based AAU squad (Game Elite), which provided us with the most extensive view of his skills.
During this contest, Maker exhibited many strengths. He is very skilled at ball and pump fakes both near the rim and even from the foul line extended area. Several times throughout this contest he was able to use these basic maneuvers to lure his defender off balance or into the air, and make his way to the hole. He displayed a very soft touch when finishing near the rim and was not afraid to use glass. He is right hand (side) dominant but can go left as needed. His body coordination was very impressive. Maker was able to contort his body near the rim to finish several times throughout the game. Maker also displayed the ability to make open 14-17 footers. He also extended his shot selection to 3 point range with mixed results. As of right now, his shot appears to be much more consistent inside the arc, although his shooting mechanics appear solid and he has an impressive shooters roll.
Defensively, Maker mostly stayed in the paint. He exhibited solid shot-blocking and rebounding ability at this level. There were a couple of instances, where Game Elite’s forwards were able to get into his body and make close range shots. Projected 2016 Lottery pick Jaylen Brown did this twice to Maker during this contest. In fairness to Maker, Brown did this to almost everyone he played against at the high school level. The big question defensively is who will he guard at the next level. To start, he will probably have to guard 4’s, but in time he might be able to guard 5’s once he gains added strength and bulk. I bolded might, for good reason. Maker is on the thin side, and one would expect just with naturally getting older, he will be able to add the needed strength and bulk.
We project Maker to go in the 1st round of the 2016 Draft. His best bet would be to go to a team with multiple 1st round selections. Philadelphia immediately comes to mind, although he will probably be gone by the time they draft with their back-end 1st round picks. Other possible destinations would include Boston and Denver. We have heard comparisons of Maker to Kevin Garnett. Believe it or not we can see that comparison most in his mid-range jump shot, which is actually a deadpan versions of KG’s right now. However, the closest comparison we can make at this time, is Darius Miles. Please do not forget that Miles was the #3 overall selection in the 2000 NBA Draft. We like Maker’s game from what we have seen, but really wish he attended college for one year. The reason being that a true developmental coach such as Bobby Hurley at Arizona State, would have done wonders with progressing Maker’s overall skill set.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF THON MAKER
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