Is HBCU stud Makur Maker worth a gamble?


The Toronto Raptors draft got much more interesting when Masai Ujiri acquired a pair of second-round picks via trade. While using those picks on low-floor collegiate stars who can contribute right away always ends up being a valid strategy, adding athletic gambles like Howard standout Makur Maker might be worth Toronto’s time as well.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the cousin of former No. 10 overall pick Thon Maker and G League player Matur Maker. Unlike his cousins, Makur chose the collegiate route, becoming the highest-ranked recruit ever to attend an HBCU school when he picked Howard over Memphis, Kentucky, and UCLA.

Maker played in just a handful of games, and he is looking to join his family members in the professional ranks after declaring for the NBA Draft. The draft is all about gambling on upside, and Maker epitomizes that concept more than any player in this class.

Maker has the potential to be a highly effective starter in the NBA if a team like the Raptors puts enough time into growing his game. However, due to the fact most of the game tape we have on him is against high schoolers at various camps and tournaments, it’s very difficult to project his floor and ceiling.

Should the Toronto Raptors draft Makur Maker?

On paper, Maker looks too good to be true. At 7-0, Maker has a bit more muscle than both of his cousins, but that hasn’t stopped him from being able to show off jaw-dropping athletic ability. A solid ball-handler for his size, the Canadian high school alum’s shooting and scoring touch could help Nick Nurse add another tremendous offensive big man to the rotation.

The Raptors have been willing to show patience with regards to some big men that could use a little extra fine-tuning, and they could provide Maker with that same support system.

The problem with Maker is the lack of film on him. His high school competition is by no means adequate competition when projecting his pro potential. He played in just two collegiate games, a loss against Belmont and a 14-point defeat at the hands of Division II Queens University where he only played 19 minutes.

How can you envision how he’ll play against Joel Embiid based on those games?

Calling Maker a wild-card is the understatement of the year, as he has two semi-competitive college games and some high-school tape to go off of when evaluating his NBA potential. He has the tools, but like his cousin, it will take a TON of resources to develop him.

If the Raptors are willing to stick him in the G League for as long as possible, he could be a gamble this front office decides to take. If they want their second-round picks to contribute in 2021-22, Maker wouldn’t be the right choice.