Cavs: Thon Maker should be a nice depth piece to have

Big Thon Maker, then of the Detroit Pistons, shoots in pre-game. (Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Big Thon Maker, then of the Detroit Pistons, shoots in pre-game. (Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers signing Thon Maker via training camp deal was a sensible move.

Last weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Thon Maker to a training camp deal, which was hardly the most noteworthy signing. But he seems pretty likely to make the team.

Perhaps the Wine and Gold enter the 2020-21 season with 14 players for roster flexibility, however, I’d imagine Maker could stick around and play at times for Cleveland in a reserve role, seemingly at the 4/5.

Other training camp invitees seem much more hard-pressed to make Cleveland’s roster, quite frankly, and for the Cavs, I’d think Maker would be a sensible player to have for depth at the 4/5.

Plus, that’s also when considering what J.B. Bickerstaff said here in virtual media availability on Saturday, via Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell. Bickerstaff hit on how the Cavs are “still discussing” sitting Kevin Love and Andre Drummond in back-to-back scenarios but that with the Cavs’ extended layoff, that “it’s unfair, unrealistic, and dangerous” to give Love/Drummond such a huge workload right away.

To me, again, Maker, though we’ll have to see of course, would appear to have a good chance of making the team, which would be sensible.

Maker should make for a nice Cavs’ depth piece.

Maker, who had 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per outing last season with the Detroit Pistons, should he make the Cavs’ roster, won’t be playing a ton of minutes.

But again when weighing in Bickerstaff’s comments above, via Dammarell, Maker for a few spurts/at times stretches in some matchups, if either Love or Drummond are out of second legs of back-to-backs, in particular, should make for nice depth.

In terms of overall, though, I wouldn’t want Maker to potentially take 4 man minutes away from Larry Nance Jr., no. But with how I’d think Maker, who is a thinner 221 pounds, could be on with JaVale McGee, who is reportedly not yet with the Cavs after being acquired via trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, per’s Chris Fedor (albeit should be just fine), at times at the 5.

Maker could help provide some rotational rim protection with McGee/Drummond at the 5 at times, anyway. And if needed, Maker is somewhat switchable in pick-and-roll coverage.

Maker and Nance or Love and Maker on occasion would seem to be viable at times for Cleveland for spurts, still, though. And Nance at the 3 at times even with Maker-McGee/Dre at the 4/5 could be an intriguing defensive wrinkle for the Cavs.

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For the Cavaliers, again, I wouldn’t expect Maker to play much, as offensively, he’s not going to be much of an on-ball presence/nor secondary playmaker.

And while a career three-point shooting clip of 32.9 percent isn’t great, Maker did hit 37.8 percent from deep in his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks (who later traded him to Detroit in 2019), and hit a better 34.4 percent from deep in 2019-20. I know the volume hasn’t been high, though.

So to me, while Maker, given that he’s thinner, isn’t a player you want for significant stretches ideally at the 5 because of foul troubles, in spurts/in spot minutes, he could provide some energy.

Albeit he is, as a helper/rotator, an active shot blocking presence, still, and that could aid Cavs players such as Darius Garland/Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Kevin Porter Jr., Dylan Windler and/or Kevin Love.

Maker has had a respectable career block rate of 4.1 percent and had 0.7 blocks in 12.9 minutes per outing last season, so again, as a depth/spot minutes piece, he should be a nice piece to have for Bickerstaff and company. He’s also still only 23, for what it’s worth.

Moreover, in pick-and-roll situations with Garland, KPJ, and/or Windler/Okoro at times, Maker could be a viable pick-and-pop threat on occasion.

Lastly, although Drummond after picking up his $28.7 million player option for next season, could seemingly be a trade candidate more so near the 2021 deadline, if Cleveland were to bring back a 5 as part of a potential package, they could patch some things together with the big rotation.

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Anyway, we’ll again see regarding the roster spot, but I’d think Maker should make for a nice depth piece to have for a few spurts per game for the Cavs at the 4/5. And yes, that pun was intended.