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Dwane Casey says Thon Maker ‘got bigger, stronger in the core’

dwane casey, thon maker

Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose are expected to be the main cogs for the Detroit Pistons this upcoming season. But deep within Dwane Casey’s rotation, a forgotten talent is working his way to realizing his full potential — Thon Maker.

The 7-foot-1 South Sudanese Australian has played in three underwhelming NBA seasons, but Maker is hoping that year No. 4 will finally be his breakout campaign. As far as the Pistons coach is concerned, the young athlete has been doing all the right things this offseason to prepare his body for the long grind, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

One thing he did, he got bigger. He got bigger up in his shoulders. He worked with Arnie Kander in Colorado, working on his hands, catching the ball, developing that part of his game.

When somebody bumps him, hits him, it doesn’t knock him off of his mark as easily, offensively or defensively. I think getting bigger and stronger in his shoulders is going to help his 3-point shooting. Getting stronger is going to give him a better base, a solid base, to shoot from.

In 29 games for the Pistons last season, Maker averaged 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game through 19 minutes of action. This stat line leaves much to be desired and the same can be said about his shooting numbers.

Detroit added Markieff Morris to its fold, giving the former lottery pick more competition among the team’s big men. The Pistons, though, have no other backup for Drummond, providing Maker a legitimate opportunity to carve his niche in the NBA.

Maker is quite an enigma. He could be the next NBA unicorn or just another draft bust.