Remember Thon Maker?
The 19-year-old burst onto the basketball scene in 2014 when a video that proclaimed him a “revolutionary seven-footer” took the basketball mixtape world by storm. It’s not hard to see why. There are only a few NBA players his height capable of pulling off the moves Maker – a friggin’ sophomore at the time, it bears stressing – does in the highlight tape below.
But mixtapes aren’t full games for a reason: they’re made to magnify a player’s strengths and erase his weaknesses. And Maker, the prep scene learned shortly thereafter, has nearly nearly as many of the latter as he does the former – a reality that will manifest itself in his draft position come late June.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Maker has been cleared by the league office to enter the 2016 draft.
The NBA ruled on Thursday that Australian forward Thon Maker will be eligible for the 2016 NBA draft, sources said.
Maker declared for the draft several weeks ago, but was awaiting a ruling by the NBA on his eligibility.
NBA rules state that a player must be 19 years old and one year removed from high school to be eligible. Maker turned 19 in February and the NBA ruled that he did graduate with his high school class last year, making him eligible for this year’s draft.
Maker, an Australian national who was born in Sudan, was originally a member of the high school class of 2015 before reclassifying to officially graduate this spring. Bottom line: Maker is in his fifth year of high school and already 19 years old. His argument to enter June’s draft always seemed pretty straightforward since it was first broached two weeks ago.
Is Maker the future superstar he was portended to be a couple years ago? Doubtful.
He’s still paper thin and lacks the base to gain substantial mass, while his overall skill level and feel for the game leave a lot to be desired. There’s definitely a place for Maker in the league assuming he tightens his jumper and adds some additional weight. Mobile seven-footers who can provide a reasonable combination of stretching the floor and protecting the rim are few and far between.
Any hopes of Maker playing franchise savior, though, are long gone. He’s on a different path to the NBA now, and it’s one that still has the chance to end with success nonetheless. Maker will officially begin traveling it on June 23.