BASKETBALL: Thon Maker just earned the first start of his young NBA career after receiving a massive compliment from one of his teammates.
The Australian big man has only seen limited minutes for the Milwaukee Bucks - mostly in garbage time - averaging 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds so far in his rookie season in the league.
But he played 18 minutes today in the 97-109 loss to the Miami Heat, downing six points.
And the man he replaced in the starting line-up, Jabari Parker, predicts big things in the seven-footer's future.
"You can quote me, right now,” Parker said when asked by the THE LEAD about Maker's potential.
"Thon Maker's gonna be the best seven-foot player in this league. He's going to. He's that good.”
Maker's wingspan, unique skillset and size have always intrigued front-office executives but, on a relatively deep Bucks team, he's struggled for minutes.
Parker suggested that if Maker was on a team that wasn't vying for a playoff spot, he'd earn more minutes and post more significant numbers.
"Say if, for instance, he was on a team like Philly or one of the teams that's in the low .500s, he'd be averaging 15 and 10, easily, because his skillset is so amazing,” Parker said.
"He can shoot the ball, he can put it on the ground, and he's athletic. He has that time of athleticism, quick first step for his size, agile, great hands, good feel for the game, and it's only going to get better.”
In an odd series of events, Maker replaced Parker in the starting line-up after these comments; a reaction to the Bucks' four-game losing streak.