Rockets News

Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Thon Maker

12/5/15 7:20:06 PM -- Benton, KY, U.S.A -- Athlete Institute Prep forward Thon Maker (14) lines up for a free throw during the second half against Oak Hill Academy at the Grind Session basketball tournament. -- Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 134138 Grind Hoops 12/5/2015 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
12/5/15 7:20:06 PM -- Benton, KY, U.S.A -- Athlete Institute Prep forward Thon Maker (14) lines up for a free throw during the second half against Oak Hill Academy at the Grind Session basketball tournament. -- Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 134138 Grind Hoops 12/5/2015 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
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After an underwhelming season that led to an early exit in the first round of the playoffs, the Houston Rockets are entering rebuild mode. With a new Head Coach and looking to restructure the roster, the 2016 NBA Draft could’ve been a great start. However after trading their first round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Ty Lawson the most Red Nation fans can aspire to is that Daryl Morey strike gold in the second-round. Could Thon Maker be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the Texan Team?

Draft Prospect

Intro

The South-Sudanese Thon Maker enters the 2016 NBA draft surrounded by an aura of mystery. By far the biggest wildcard Maker one of the greatest prospects in high-school at one point was even a 5-star talent by recruiters. Courted by great college systems like Kansas and Kentucky Maker decided to skip college to go directly to the NBA, thus becoming one of a couple players to do such in the last 10-to-15 years.

Questions remain about his build, talent and even his real age. But none could say Thon Maker doesn’t show resolve and confidence by trusting himself to become a NBA player right now. A tall power forward-center that sometimes reminds of Chris Bosh due to his ability shooting the basket, Maker could become either one of the biggest steals or busts in the last few years of the draft.

Specifics

(as per NBA draft combine)

  • Height: 7’1”
  • Weight: 216 lbs
  • Country: Australian / Sudan
  • Position: PF-C
  • Age: 19
  • Reach: 9’2”
  • Wingspan: 7’3”
  • College/High School: Orangeville Prep. / Athlete Institute
  • Stat Line: 6 games played, 29 points per game, 14.2 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game, 3.7 blocks per game, 56.6 FG%, 72.7 FT%, 31.6 3P%

Current Rank:

Draft Express: 40

CBS Sports Gary Parrish: 26

Steve Kyler Basketball Insiders: 23

HoopsHype: 28

The Skills

"My mindset is that everything is going in. I look at and I think about how he is used in the NBA. I can do that. He is a mobile big. – Thon Maker Kristaps Porzingis"

It’s good news if Thon Maker mimics his game on Kristaps Porzingis. Still, he is incredibly far from it despite his undeniable raw talent.

Maker is a 7’footer (which in itself is already great) with the ability to knock down the outside shot. He is an above average shot blocker and a decent ball handler. He can hold his own defensively in the post and is described as being a fairly competitive and physical player.

Honors and Awards

Adidas Nations MVP (2014)

The Fit

For years now the Houston Rockets have been looking for a power forward that can stretch the floor and have a big impact. Without any success the Rockets pursued Ryan Anderson and Chris Bosh tirelessly in the last 2-to-3 years.

Even if it’s a given that Maker won’t be ready for the NBA for a couple of years yet, the Houston Rockets can be a great home for him.

Maker can develop and grow playing for the Vipers and provided he shows the same level of domination he’s shown before in high school, he absolutely would have a spot with the Houston Rockets playing alongside Clint Capela in the future, for example.

Final Thoughts

More from Space City Scoop

A lot of recruiters and analysts remain skeptical regarding Thon Maker’s leap to the NBA. Many feel that he’s still a few years away from being ready for the league.

There are question marks regarding his build, strength and mental readiness for the NBA.

Nevertheless as most Mock Drafts show he might be a late first rounder but most likely a second round pick.

If still available, Daryl Morey must take a very close look at Thon Maker would could be a great commodity if picked by the Rockets with their 37th or 43rd pick.

Next: List of 2016 Free Agent Centers

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