Bulls Summer Leaguer Draws Comparison to 1-Time All-Star & NBA Champion

Makur Maker, Chicago Bulls

Getty Makur Maker of the Kings poses

The Chicago Bulls got their second win of the summer league “season” thanks in part to the surprising efforts of big man Makur Maker. For a roster that is starved for athletic big men at the NBA level, Maker certainly garnered some attention.

He finished the 93-83 victory with 10 points, six rebounds, and one steal in a little over 18 minutes of action.

Maker’s boards led the team while the points tied for third on the team. More than that – because summer league stats don’t translate – Maker showed a skill set that many thought would be targeted this offseason.

A skill set,that earned him a fairly lofty comparison.

Bringing the Hot Sauce

The 6-foot-11 Maker is the cousin of Thon Maker, the 10th-overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Makur was not as fortunate, going undrafted in the 2022 selection process. He had already withdrawn himself from the 2021 NBA Draft after health and safety concerns limited him to two games as a freshman.

He is the highest-ranked high school player ever to attend an HBCU, choosing Howard University. There is even a documentary on Apple TV+ called “Big Man on Campus”.

Maker showed what the hype was about, leading to this from Bulls broadcaster Stacey King.

“I’m liking what I’m seeing in this kid Makur Maker in the summer league. Big, fast, and very athletic looked like Pascal Siakam a little bit. 7-footer gots some handles and range. Kid is nice!!!”

The scouting report on Maker from Tom Westerholm of Mass Live suggested that he had the ability to do those things. But we had not seen them in this setting.

“At nearly 7-feet tall, Maker is intriguing due to his mobility and fluidity. He’s a good athlete with an uncommon skill set for his size—a solid handle, a competent three-point shot, and a good ability to get out in transition quickly. Defensively, his mobility is promising, since modern bigs are expected to move quickly laterally and help contain opponents on the perimeter.”

He helped the Sydney Kings win the NBL Grand Final earlier this year averaging 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting over 36% from three-point land.

Maker spoke of trying to separate himself in summer league with NBL analyst Liam Santamaria.

The Bulls have one two-way contract available after giving one to priority undrafted rookie Justin Lewis.

Could the still 21-year-old Maker earn his way into the other?

There is a chance that guard Malcolm Hill gets it Chicago extended already extended a two-way qualifying offer. And they have concerns regarding starting point guard Lonzo Ball. But the Bulls’ biggest strength is their guard depth.

They would do well to add some more athleticism on top of everything else that Maker brings.

He certainly does not lack confidence. Asked by HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto whether he thought he would be a top pick had he played a full collegiate season, Makur was adamant.

“Yeah definitely. I was coming off a good summer. I was killing guys. I’m seeing guys get drafted in the top picks, I was killing them all. Good matchups. COVID happened. [Nike] Hoop Summit was canceled. Allen Iverson Roundball Classic was canceled also. I was MVP of the Steph Curry camp. I definitely do think so.”

The Bulls currently roster four centers in Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, and Tony Bradley as the vet. They also have second-year man Marko Simonovic, the hero from the summer league opener.

But none of them don’t move as Maker can.

Maker’s Mark

This was his first standout performance of his three summer league appearances. So he will likely need to string together a similar effort to make Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley’s decision that much tougher.

If he does, though, the Bulls might put themselves on a path to solve an issue that could threaten to short-circuit their season again.

This summer league has been headlined by first-round pick Dalen Terry, who had his best game of the exhibition as well, as well as Simonovic and, to a lesser extent, Lewis. But Maker figures to garner a few extra looks next time out if only to see if it was a fluke.

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