Kevin Garnett may be retired from the NBA, but he says his presence lives on in the very long limbs of another player whose name may only be familiar to diehard basketball fans. However, according to Garnett, fans might be seeing Thon Maker’s name on the side of the league’s MVP trophy.
“Thon Maker reminds me a lot of myself,” Garnett said of the Milwaukee Bucks’ wiry 7-foot sophomore in a recent interview with Bleacher Report.
“He loves the game,” Garnett said of Maker. “He’s a young, exuberant athlete who has a lot of tools—he has touch; he has agility; he has really, good feet. He has a really good shot from three-point all the way up to 19 to 21 feet. He has very good bones, as we say.”
Through just 73 games in the NBA, the 20-year-old Sudanese-Australian is averaging only 4 points a game on 49.6 percent shooting and 35.8 percent from three-point range. However, he’s seen his minutes double this year from nine to 18 per game.
Garnett — who has been training and tutoring Maker, as well as his Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo — foresees a long way to go for the youngster.
“Thon is going to be the MVP of the league one day,” he said. “Mark it down. He has the bones. He has the appetite to be able to chase something like that.”
Maker first made his name in basketball circles, after being featured in amateur highlight videos showcasing the 7-foot teenager’s impressive guard-like skills.
But it’s not just similar physical attributes that Maker shares with Garnett; he displays a familiar serious confidence.
“When you’re playing pickup ball, and a guy’s taking it so serious as if it’s life or death, then you know you got a winner,” former coach Edward Smith said in an in-depth feature on Maker by Bleacher Report this past February.