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John Hammond: We're really excited about Thon Maker

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Bucks general manager John Hammond spoke with the media following the team's selection of Thon Maker.

Below are highlights of what he had to say. (You can view video of his press conference on our Facebook page)

Opening remarks:

We're really excited about him. You're always concerned if you can put your head on the pillow at night knowing if you drafted somebody you can trust. We felt that with Thon. We know he's going to do everything he can to be the best player he can be. We don't have to teach him how to work, he knows how to work.

He can stretch the floor right now. Give him a little time to gain some strength and we think he has the chance to be a special player.

What made you select Thon at 10? Can you compare this to drafting Giannis?

I hate to even go there because Giannis has done some special things in his first three years this league....I don't even want to put him in that category. There wasn't a real body of work to evaluate Giannis from, and the same thing was kind of true of Thon...

He impressed us, and we had a chance to watch him for the last couple of years. He's continued to get better, he's continued to get stronger, and we've talked to Troy Flanagan and our medical staff, and they feel like he definitely has the ability to add strength, add mass, and that was important to us.

But as much as anything, in our time with him we fell in love with him as a young man. Just a great guy, extremely bright, extremely articulate, and I think he's going to be a good fit for the guys on our team.

What separated Thon from Henry Ellenson?

I don't know if it's a separation, we think Henry can be a very good player and we're excited. We just felt like Thon was the player for us at 10.

On Maker's age:

He's 19 years old, that's what we have record of and we've been through this before with international players. Sometimes guys get questioned on age, and it's tough...[but] we're comfortable with who he is and what he is.

What does this mean for Greg Monroe?

This has nothing to do with our roster. We felt we wanted to pick the best player on the board and also the player with the greatest upside. And that was the pick we made. It has absolutely nothing to do with our roster as is.

On his lacking body of work:

He's got some steps and growth to go through, but if you have a chance to watch him, he's really multi-faceted at that young age and seven feet tall. He has the ability to handle the ball more effectively than you realize, he has good vision with the ball, and the fact that he shoots make it extra exciting. His experience is limited, but I think he does have a pretty good feel of the game, and just an extremely bright person and we think he'll have a very high learning curve with that.

Do you have a blueprint for developing him?

Yes, it's right here on this floor (the training facility). When Jason Kidd was hired, it was a game changer for us. These guys literally live in this gym.

After Thon's workout, everybody showered, and he was waiting for dinner and got back on the floor. He went for like an extra hour and 45 minutes after that. I didn't know if it was going to happen, didn't know if we were going to draft him, didn't know if it was going to fit for us.

So the blueprint is real simple and it's going to be hard work and it's going to happen in this gym. And he's willing to do it. That's the most important thing.

On his position:

What position is he? We're going to figure it out. We have a vision.

On Thon's background:

The one thing we took away from this was who he was a person — a young man that's been through a lot. Some of these guys ... what they've overcome is really remarkable. And Thon is one of those guys. He's had a long journey to arrive here and I think maybe he appreciates it more than others. We really felt that with his personality, he really fits with others here.

Did you have trade offers to move down?

We looked at all kinds of scenarios. We talked about moving up in this draft, but nothing came to fruition there. At the end of the day, we liked the player and we stayed with the pick tonight.