Aussies in NBA: Thon Maker wants to be a winner

Earlier today, the Milwaukee Bucks held their 2016 media day. Thon Maker sat down and talked to the media about the year ahead, what he learnt in Summer League and playing with fellow Aussie, Matthew Dellavedova.

It was clear from the outset that Maker was comfortable in front of the media and he can't wait to get training camp underway and then get the season started.

"I'm very, very excited for [training camp], I can't wait for it to get going. I know that I’ll be going really hard, no matter what – like I always do. And that’s the same message I've got from the coaching staff - don’t try to coast or whatever, just let it all out." Maker said. "For me, I'm very excited and I can't wait for these couple of weeks to go by and then get the season going.”

After a very promising Summer League campaign, Maker has been putting in the work to make an impact when the real stuff starts. "I had to get an upboost in speed in all aspects of the game. Just to get it up to the NBA speed level - whether in the post, outside or the pick and roll game, I just had to get that down." Maker continued. "Defensively, we’ve been watching a lot of tape with the coaching staff and they have been on me about watching tape, it's been great. We’ve seen the results in the scrimmages and I'm getting better"

Those scrimmages have been key helping Maker transition to NBA life. “I think I've got more comfortable as the scrimmages go on. Each day I get more comfortable, both offensively and defensively." He is also focusing on making sure he is using his voice. "Vocally, I've had more confidence as the scrimmages have been going on and I'm also getting more comfortable around my teammates - playing with them and against them too.”

Thats a wrap on 2016 Bucks media day. Giannis & Thon taking a selfie. pic.twitter.com/JlaYek3XIU

— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) September 26, 2016

When asked about having Delly as a teammate, Maker couldn't wipe the smile off his face, saying "It's cool because he's a fellow Australian and that’s exciting." Maker then explained how he hopes to pick Delly's brain. "Then to see him as a guy that won a championship - I want to be a winner, I want to be a champion - that just gives me another tool to use in terms of asking people for advice. Just having him beside me on the court, it’s a big difference"

And yes, he plans to team up with Delly on the Boomers in years to come. When asked if he intends to play for Australia in the future, Maker replied emphatically, "Definitely".

When asked about who he patterns his game on, Maker paid homage to a recently retired legend. He said, "My game is mixed because I take pride more on the defensive end and then I let that lead to my offence. I usually say a guy like Kevin Garnett... He’s just got a non-stop motor, energy, intensity and talk. With him, he kind of made sure that I respect the game whenever I’m playing. I'm never playing around, in an All Star game I never take my foot of the gas or just mess around.

"I just take it serious every single time, because of guys like Kevin Garnett."

This attitude is something that Maker shares with many of his teammates, including Delly, and is another reason why the season can't come soon enough for this Bucks squad.

“With these guys, they don’t take their foot off the gas - it's just non-stop. Even when they're tired, they’re going to find another level and that really, really gets me excited because I'm that way too." Maker said. "Just wait until we put it all together and go up against somebody else who tries to take their foot off the gas – they’re going to see beasts, like there's something wrong with these guys. For us, it's really exciting."

Who else is excited to see what the Bucks can produce this season?