There’s a good chance that Thon Maker is not the man that the Milwaukee Bucks thought he was. Concerns about his age arose prior to the draft, and now that he’s been drafted, his fit with Milwaukee’s roster doesn’t look ideal. Reddit user /u/plumlord wrote a very compelling post regarding the rookie’s highly questioned age of 19.
Here’s the timeline that /u/plumlord lays out:
Thon Maker is enrolled in Aranmore Catholic College, a high school in Perth. He was part of the 2010 graduating class.
During this time he was discovered by Edmund Smith, an extremely shady talent scout who worked mainly with Sudanese kids and had a reputation for being controlling. He saw Thon’s size, athleticism, and potential, but also knew it would never work with him being 18 already and still so raw and skinny.
In early 2011, Thon Maker resurfaced as a 14-year-old prodigy in Sydney where he joined the local club, St George Saints, a U/16 Division 2 squad. He didn’t attend school at this time and just played basketball, away from anyone who had previously known him and was a way to build credibility around his age. I suspect his age was somehow changed in the transition from Perth to Sydney.
He had gone to camps in the US by this time and the highlight reels of the amazing “8th grader” had started to emerge.
Maker began 8th grade in the 2011-2012 season. Afterwards he was bounced around various schools, at least three in the US and a couple as well in Canada.
Here we are in June of 2016, and Thon Maker has been selected at No. 10 by the Bucks.
This timeline, if true, would make Maker roughly 23-years-old. There’s a good chance that the Bucks knew that Maker may not actually be the raw 19-year-old that he claims to be, but decided to make the selection anyway.
If that’s the case, I think it was an incredibly unintelligent pick. Maker is still talented, but being long, athletic, yet unrefined at 23-years-old is infinitely worse than being the same player at his listed age of 19.
Maker, of course, has denied claims that he is any age other than 19. “It did get to me in terms of me hearing about it, but it didn’t get to me personally because if it were true, I’d probably be like sideways about it, but it’s not true, so I’m comfortable,” he told The Boston Globe. “I’m not angry or anything. I’ve got to learn what I can say and what I can’t say now.”
Outside of Maker’s age concerns, the Bucks selection of Maker at No. 10 was still controversial. Draft Express projects the 7-foot-1 Maker as a power forward. The Bucks took Maker despite the fact that Jabari Parker has said that he’s more comfortable playing the power forward position and stretching the floor.
Milwaukee also just signed C Greg Monroe to a 3-year $50 million dollar deal last off-season, so moving Maker to center wouldn’t make much sense either. Head Coach Jason Kidd said that the 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo will play point guard full-time next season; that’s a lot of height to have on the floor at one time.
Maker and Monroe would be a weird fit on the court at the same time, and I’m not sure it would work. Monroe is a notoriously below-average defender and with Maker on the floor as well, there could be two liabilities in the Milwaukee front-court. Maker is incredibly athletic for his size, but I suspect he would seriously struggle to guard stretch fours in today’s NBA.
Maker is a gifted player, but his questionable fit with the Bucks and his lack of confirmed age are both very troubling.
However old Thon Maker actually is, Milwaukee probably should have gone with someone else with their first-round selection this year.