Bulls: Makur Maker is Chicago’s Summer League hidden gem

Makur Maker, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)
Makur Maker, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images) /

While most of the attention was directed towards Dalen Terry, Marko Simonovic, and Justin Lewis during the Chicago Bulls‘ 2022 Summer League, one player quietly enjoyed an impressive audition through five games in Las Vegas. That player is of course Makur Maker, the undrafted big man from Australia.

Cousin to former pro basketball players Thon Maker and Matur Maker, the sport has a long legacy running through Makur’s extended family.

Ranked as the 16th best prospect in the recruiting class of 2020, Maker received several scholarship offers as a five-star recruit. He surprisingly declined offers from basketball powerhouses like UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis, instead opting to attend the prestigious Howard University. Unfortunately, he’d suffer a groin injury and be limited to playing in just two games at the collegiate level.

In 2021, he’d head back to Australia to join his cousin Matur on the Sydney Kings in the NBL. After averaging 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and displaying a promising shooting stroke ⁠— hitting 36% of his 3-point attempts and 77% of his free throws ⁠— he’d once again try to follow in Thon’s footsteps and make it in the NBA by joining the Chicago Bulls in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Although the Chicago Bulls’ rotation appeared locked in entering the Summer League, Makur Maker has made a compelling case for a roster spot.

On a roster filled with other NBA hopefuls, Makur had to fight for every minute he’d get. Fortunately, he actually made very good use of the time he was given. In just 12 minutes per game, he’d post 7.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. Most impressively of all, he shot 52.6% from the field and 44.4% from deep.

Obviously, we’d like to see Maker fill out his frame a bit more, as it would likely help him impose a stronger presence on the boards. For someone with a ridiculous 9’4 standing reach, he should be rebounding at a higher rate. But for someone with a 9’4 standing reach, Maker has surprisingly good footwork and lateral agility.

When you consider these factors as well as his shooting ability, Makur becomes a much more intriguing prospect. Maker particularly shined in two particular games. The first coming against the Hornets where he put up 11 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal, and the second versus the 76ers when he posted 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists.

I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if the Bulls decided to let Malcolm Hill go in favor of allocating his two-way slot to Maker, as the latter player has a much higher potential ceiling. This is an indictment of how interesting Maker is as a prospect, rather than a criticism of Hill as a player. If the Bulls are counting on their two-way contracts to play minutes in the regular season, they’re already in trouble anyways. Using the two-way spots to develop talent is a much preferable option moving forward.

Even if Chicago doesn’t directly sign Maker to an official contract, I really hope they’re able to keep him around on the G League affiliate Windy City Bulls. However, any team could sign him directly from the G League pool, so it may be best to lock him up to a contract first.

Rest assured, if Maker plays as good in the G League as he did in the Summer League, he’ll find his way onto a roster soon enough.

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