Aussies in NBA: Thon Maker's preseason hints at minor role in rookie season
Thon Maker's NBA career kicks off tomorrow morning against the Charlotte Hornets!
After being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the tenth pick in this years NBA draft, he was seen as a project player for the future.
On the eve of his first NBA opening night, that tag still applies. Whilst he was dominant during the Summer League, he was used sparingly during the preseason and that is likely to continue as the real stuff begins.
Make no mistake, Maker will play some minutes for the Bucks this season, and yes, you can expect some jaw-dropping highlights too. Limited minutes won't mean limited growth or improvement though.
Maker is undoubtedly one of the most exciting prospects in the league, and after spending plenty of time in the gym since being drafted, he continues to work and improve himself.
In preseason action, Maker averaged 3.4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 14.6 minutes per game.
Whilst those numbers are far from anything special, the experience is what counts at this point in his career.
He got the start against Indiana and played full court defence, in the PRESEASON! This is a great sign - the hunger and competitiveness of Maker has been talked about and playing killer defence in the preseason is a sure-fire way to prove that!
In that game, the Bucks went down 101-83, but Maker was a massive +16 in 19 minutes on the court. His energy on the court is infectious for his team and his defence absolutely annoys the opposition.
Maker won't be playing a bunch of minutes for the Bucks, but this doesn't mean he isn't a must-watch player in his rookie season. Maker's shooting wasn't great during the preseason (37.5% FG), and he will continue to work on it.
If he can continue to work to his strengths and run the floor with urgency, he may just force Jason Kidd to give him minutes.
All Maker can do in his rookie season is continue to work hard. The improvements will inevitably come with the crazy athleticism and upside he has.