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Eastern Conference

Bucks’ Thon Maker Credits Kevin Garnett Video For Motivating His Turnaround

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Milwaukee Bucks big man Thon Maker is making waves with his playoff performance during the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs and is crediting a former NBA All-Star for motivating him to step his game up.

Maker is crediting an Instagram video posted by retired NBA player Kevin Garnett for motivating him to step his game up, and the results have shown his progress.

Over the past 2 games of Milwaukee’s series against the Boston Celtics, Maker has posted 22 points, 10 blocks and 7 rebounds combined.

“He posted it on his Instagram, and somebody showed it to me,” Maker said of Garnett’s video, which was made as part of Garnett’s “Area 21″ show on TNT.

And then I watched it and I sent it back to him and told him how motivational it was and said I liked it. So then we started talking.”

Garnett has taken time the past 2 season to work with Maker and the Bucks, and his impact has affected Maker.

“The biggest thing is having that attack mindset on both ends of the floor,” Maker said. “With him, he doesn’t care who you are in front of him if you’re playing against him. On the defensive end, [defending] your shot and protecting your teammates. The biggest thing when it comes to your teammates, him dealing with his teammates, was always touching a guy, telling him, ‘Stay up’ — keeping the guys positive.

“And then on the offensive end, just getting everybody involved, but also looking to attack because his man would be back. That’s what he was telling me: ‘If your man is back, shoot it. And tell them, How dare you back off?‘”

Maker’s teammates have noticed his improvement.

“Thon loves the big moments, and he just finds a way to get it done,” Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova said following Game 3.

“I’m happy for him because he’s continued to work hard and be a great teammate and stay ready. He deserves what he gets.”

“When you’ve got a guy like KG in your corner talking to you, giving you tips on your game, and coming to work out with you … he’s one of the best players that’s ever played the game,” Bucks’ Kris Middleton said. “The intensity that he brings to the floor — you can see Thon is getting up front with himself. There’s no reason he shouldn’t bring that with a guy like that in his corner.

“He’s been big,” Maker said. “And not just for me, but also for other guys like Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. He spoke with Khris a few times. But just us as a team, if he’s coming to influence some of us and we put it together, it helps us because we have that same mentality as a team.”

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Says Andre Drummond In Best Shape He’s Seen Him In

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey is expecting big things from big man Andre Drummond this upcoming season and is excited to see what he can do as he is impressed with the shape Drummond is in.

“One, his overall conditioning. He’s in the best shape since I’ve been around him, the year and a half that I’ve seen. His body is slim and trim, his body fat is down, he’s been in Vegas working with Coach Gerg (Tim Grgurich) and Sean Sweeney all summer religiously, two and three times a day. That in itself is going to pay great dividends,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“Watching him in pickup games, he’s running like a deer. His decision making, I think the 3-point shooting experiment, we kind of put that on hold in the second part of the year last year but still, catching the ball on pick and roll, making decisions, he’s doing a great job of that – a much better job than he did last year. That’s something he’s worked on this summer, making the right read, the right decision” Casey added.

Drummond poured in 17.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game for the Pistons last season, and has been working on his offensive game during the offseason.

“With him, teams try to go small with a guy 6-7, 6-8, he has the ability and agility and speed and quickness that he can get out there and guard those guys” Casey said.

“That gives him an advantage on the other end, where now I’m in a pick-and-roll situation, he’s got a 6-7 five man in front of him, he still can jump hook over him or kick out. That’s the part of his game, he’s doing a much better job with, his decision making. The third thing will be his finishing, finishing around the rim. He’s such a great offensive rebounder that he’s got to be able to finish once he gets it because he does a great job of crashing the boards and dominating the boards.”

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Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Planning Flexibility with Blake Griffin, Thon Maker

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey has a creative approach in mind when he utilizes Blake Griffin and Thon Maker this upcoming season.

While the Pistons don’t have a true center outside of Andre Drummond, Casey sees opportunities to get creative with his lineups, depending on the situation at hand.

“I see it being very situational,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“The other guy we haven’t mentioned, we have played Blake at the five. Not good numbers off of that, so I don’t anticipate that but there are scenarios in the game, last two minutes of the game, where Blake could play the five. Looking for really a bump out of Thon, playing him at four/five, whatever it is, but a lot of nights if you look at the league, the rosters have gotten smaller and the traditional five has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. The flexibility we have with Thon, with Markieff having the possibility of playing there, is really important.”

With Drummond focusing on developing his offense this offseason, the Pistons may lack some defense at the rim, and in the paint.

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Eastern Conference

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Discusses Team Picking Up Option

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Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat recently picked up the fourth-year option on the contract of center Bam Adebayo, who is thrilled to see further commitment from the team.

Adebayo, the Heat’s starter at center, will make $3.5 million this season, and is now guaranteed $5.1 million in the 2020-2021 season.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Adebayo said, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s one of those things that a lot of guys don’t get to see, but I’m glad it happened to me. So we’re going to keep this thing going and see if we can win some more games.”

Adebayo collected 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season for Miami.

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