The Milwaukee Bucks traded third-year power forward/center Thon Maker to the Detroit Pistons for Stanley Johnson in a straight-up swap. Maker has wanted out of Milwaukee for a while now, and today the Bucks granted his trade request.
The deal could be one of those rare trades that actually makes sense for both teams.
Pistons are finalizing a trade to send Stanley Johnson to Milwaukee for Thon Maker, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2019
Report: Thon Maker Traded to Detroit Pistons for Stanley Johnson
Thon Maker’s Fit with Detroit
Maker had been all but cut from the team, forced almost entirely out of head coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation.
Maker’s 7’1″ frame and nearly 7’3″ wingspan paired with his ability to shoot the three make him an asset. Assuming Maker sees an increased role in Detroit, his trade request will have paid off.
Stanley Johnson’s Fit with Milwaukee
Johnson is in a similar boat. The fourth-year forward was expected to be a big part of the Pistons team this year. After all, new head coach Dwane Casey had high praise for him before the season started. TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reported Casey to have said: “Stanley Johnson is the best matchup for No. 23 in Cleveland that there is.”
The fact that Casey, a defensive-minded head coach, felt as though Johnson would be the most suited in the league to guard LeBron James would make you think he would have a bigger role this year than he did with Stan Van Gundy at the helm. Johnson has actually seen considerably fewer minutes this year than he did last season (20.0 compared to 27.4 in 2017-2018).
Johnson’s inability to shoot from beyond the arc, or at all really, is a huge drawback. While his defensive ability is prodigious, almost Kawhi Leonard-like given their almost identical builds, Budenholzer isn’t the type of head coach to play a young wing who shoots 38.1% from the field and 28.2% from deep.
Impact on the Organizations
In Detroit, Maker could help vault the Pistons from a fringe-playoff team to a legitimate playoff team. If Casey uses him correctly, 21-year-old Maker could be a key part of this Pistons team in the future.
Johnson doesn’t really fit in the NBA, not to mention the Bucks. If Budenholzer can find a way to fix his shot, Johnson will be a good addition to the team. If not, he likely won’t see minutes behind the Bucks’ plethora of more efficient wings such as D.J. Wilson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Tony Snell, Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown.
While it’s hard to see this trade having an effect on the Bucks’ standing in the East, the Pistons could move slightly upward into a low playoff seed with the addition of Thon Maker.