Matur Maker is the prospect the Charlotte Hornets don’t know they need

CIBA Matur Maker. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
CIBA Matur Maker. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Matur Maker has the potential to be a dominant force in the NBA. The Charlotte Hornets just don’t know they need him yet.

Despite standing 6’10”, Matur Maker still stands in the shadow of his older brother. Thon Maker, the 7’1″ center for the Milwaukee Bucks, is known as a young prospect with limitless potential. Matur, meanwhile, remains relatively hidden. He could be a sleeper for the Charlotte Hornets.

And although he’s overlooked by the general public, one thing’s for sure – he’s hungry. “As a rookie, I want to come in and be the hardest worker,” Maker said in a phone interview. “My main focus is to just get better.”

Maker, nicknamed United Nations in high school because of his diverse friend group, declared for the draft after a post-graduate year at Mississauga Prep, and the 20-year-old is already making waves. In addition to interviews at the NBA Global Camp, he’s had workouts with the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Timberwolves, who pick at 25, 8, and 20 respectively. That may sound like a reach to some, but his older brother is a good example of why it’s not. Thon was projected to miss the first round entirely by Sports Illustrated and was instead selected at 10th overall.

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The Pros

Nothing catches the eye more than Maker’s impressive frame. His 7’3″ wingspan perfectly compliments his already lanky body for a wing. On the defensive end, he leverages those long arms to rack up steals and blocks.

The South Sudanese-born player projects to be an incredibly versatile piece on the defensive end. Not only is he sizable enough to guard 3s and 4s, his fluid athleticism allows him to switch onto 1s and 2s. This ability to guard multiple positions is essential in the NBA. Look no further than Steph Curry’s absolute torching of Ryan Anderson in Game 7 of the WCF if you want proof.

His defensive switch-ability and intensity should lend themselves well to the offensive end as well. Draymond Green (a player whose film he loves to watch), Russell Westbrook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have proven to be transition nightmares due to their talents taking the ball up the floor after rebounds. Matur has shown similar ball handling abilities in his workouts and could become the point forward every team covets.

Looking closer at his offensive skills, Maker is definitely an intriguing prospect. He’s shown dominance in his few opportunities, dropping 45 points and 19 rebounds during CIBA. The more prestigious Adidas Nations event had more of the same results in store for Matur. His 26.0 points per game ended up leading all players. Maker continued his dominance on offense at the NBA Global Camp in Italy, leading his team in scoring.

Despite his impressive scoring numbers, he’s not a perfectly polished player on that end, Maker knows it too. “Something I need to get better at, and that’s getting a little bit stronger, tightening up my handle, expanding my shot,” said Matur. He needs a coach focused on player development for him to reach his true potential – which is that of a Draymond Green-Rudy Gay hybrid.

Fit in Charlotte

Luckily for Maker, Charlotte just hired a coaching staff renowned for his player development abilities. James Borrego, Jay Triano, and new hire Ronald Nored should be able to build and expand on the talents Matur already has.

Additionally, Matur should be able to glean some skills from everyone else on the Hornets roster. Ideally, he’d have the size and shooting ability of Marvin Williams. He’d also have the defense and transition offense of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The potential is limitless here, and it’d be wise for Charlotte to swing for the fences with a pick like this, especially with a roster sore for superstar talent.

Would pick 11 be a reach for Maker? Maybe. He certainly wouldn’t be the first Maker to surprisingly move into the lottery. If they can move Frank Kaminsky for a pick in the 20s though, they need to consider it. A potential young lineup of Malik Monk, Dwayne Bacon, MKG, Matur Maker, and Willy Hernangomez is already exciting. Add the 11th pick and a coach whose main job is to develop talent into the mix and things suddenly get a lot more interesting.

Overall, he’s still a bit raw. But what does Charlotte have to lose other than a future of mediocrity? Adding a potential lockdown defender with point forward abilities is special. Especially if he lives up to his lofty goals.

When I asked Maker where he wanted his career to end up, he said, “where I want to end is to be one of those guys – one of the names people are going to say forever.”

Next: NBA Draft: Jalen Brunson vs Jevon Carter

Will Matur Maker end up in purple and teal? Based on their picks at 11 and 55, probably not. But wherever he does end up, rest assured he’ll be a difference maker.