Report: Highly touted prospect Thon Maker to petition for NBA draft, skipping college

Associated Press
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Thon Maker is a guy that has been on NBA teams’ radar for years, because 7-foot guys with the potential to play like a point forward are hard to come by. However, there have been plenty of questions about his ability to live up to his early hype. Teams thought they were going to get at least another year to evaluate that and his game before having to make a call on how high he would go in the draft.

Nope, he is petitioning to enter the NBA Draft this year, reports the very well-connected Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.

Thon Maker, a Sudanese 7-footer by way of Australia who plays his high school basketball in Canada, will attempt to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told DraftExpress.

The 19-year old Maker believes he has a strong case to be considered draft eligible, since he reportedly graduated high school in Canada in June of 2015, and is now technically in his fifth year of high school.

The official NBA collective bargaining agreement rule states that a player can be eligible for selection in the NBA Draft if “the player is or will be at least nineteen years of age during the calendar year in which the Draft is held, and, at least one NBA Season has elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school.”

It is unclear if the NBA agrees with this interpretation of the rules, it is just looking into the issue.

Judging how a player would leap from Canadian high school basketball to the NBA is the kind of thing NBA owners want to avoid, and if Makers’ petition is approved expect Adam Silver to push even harder for a 20-year-old (two-and-done) age limit in the next CBA.

I saw Maker play in person more than a year ago at Adidas Nations and my impression was that he certainly had potential in his game, you can see a big who fits with the way the NBA is trending, but he was so skinny and so incredibly raw that it was too early to say just how good he could ultimately be. When I bounced that impression off an NBA scout Sunday, the response was “not much has changed.”

PBT’s NBA Draft expert — and Rotoworld writer — Ed Isaacson saw Maker play far more recently and sent this analysis of his skills:

“Maker has been a big name on the high school circuit the past few years, even after choosing to move and play the last couple of seasons in Canada. It’s easy to see why some people instantly like him due to his size, 7’0, with an over 7’3 wingspan, as well as his the energy he plays with on the floor. Still, even though he looks like he has added some weight and strength, his frame still has a long way to go if it’s going to fill out. 

“Even if his name has been known and lauded by many at the high school level, his game has never come close to matching the hype. Though he often has a big size advantage in the low post, he rarely dominates, especially when matched up against other high-level high school players. Maker’s game in the low post is still a bit raw, with very few reliable moves. He can also knock down mid- and long-range jumpers, though the consistency isn’t there yet, and while Maker is a decent ballhandler for his size, he’ll often try to force drives right into the defense. Maker is at his best when he can get out in run the floor in transition, usually heading straight to the rim for a lob pass. Defensively, Maker can be a good shot blocker, if he’s camped around the rim, and he will battle against stronger players in the post, but he’s not a very smart defender and lacks the awareness you would hope for from a top-level big man prospect. Even if he continues to develop his skills on both ends of the floor, his understanding of the game is still way behind. He will be a project for any NBA team that picks him, and I don’t know if he’ll ever meet the early hype on him.”