First reported by DraftExpress, five star international prospect Thon Maker announced he will declare for the 2016 NBA Draft, awaiting league acceptance.
Maker received NCAA offers from Arizona State, Indiana, Kansas, Notre Dame and St. John’s. They will keep their eyes open on the NBA’s decision about Maker’s academic status. Maker’s party wants to convince the NBA his post-grad year replaces the one-year college basketball requirement. He is lucky he is already 19.
If Maker enters the draft, he becomes the draft mystery. Maker stands 7’0″ with a 9’3″ standing reach. He portrays a unique blend of length, skill and athletic ability. What makes him scary is he can shoot. He isn’t NBA ready and will need to spend time in the D-League. His regression doesn’t help his stock.
Wherever Thon Maker gets drafted, expect him to spend most of next couple years in the D-League. NBA execs have mostly seen him regress.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 4, 2016
No NCAA experience will also hurt his draft stock. There is a lot of NBA talent in the top-9. A lot of teams in the top-9 can’t screw up in this draft. After the 10th pick, anything can happen.
So who takes the risk?
No 2016 first-round picks and are out of consideration:
Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards
Too late of a pick:
Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers (Via Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat) and San Antonio Spurs
Too early of a pick:
Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers
Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz
Multiple first-round picks who can risk a draft and stash:
Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors
Who will take the risk:
The Boston Celtics have three picks in the first round. They own the Dallas Mavericks is projected around #15 with plenty of bigs to choose from. They’ll need a miracle for Maker to fall this late. Unless Chicago makes the playoffs, this is the latest projected pick for Maker to fall. He won’t fall past Boston.
The Chicago Bulls will look to draft big with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah pending free agency. For Chicago, it is finding players Fred Hoiberg can coach. Hoiberg is about offensive creativity which is Maker’s game. Maker and Mirotic down low would give Chicago versatility for a long time.
The Denver Nuggets have four picks in the first round. All four picks are projected between 10-20.
In a system fit situation, Maker’s best fit is in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a long and versatile team. Maker is a long and versatile player. With the “Greek Freak” moving to point guard, Maker would give Milwaukee the biggest team ever.
The Orlando Magic need to figure out their future. They are loaded with young talent, but are out of the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Maker gives them more young talent and the time to figure out their core.
The Phoenix Suns have three picks in the draft. If they select Maker, it will be with the Washington Wizards pick. Phoenix’s biggest need is a scoring big. Since Phoenix isn’t contending soon, they can wait.
The Toronto Raptors picked a great year to have a pick swap with the New York Knicks or Denver Nuggets. They are the earliest team on my list who could select Maker. What makes Toronto intriguing is they can draft Maker and still contend in 2017. I’m sure he would love to stay in Ontario.
It is tough to analyze Maker against high school talent. We will find out more after the NBA Combine.