Marquesse Chriss is going to be one of those rookies from this class who will be forgotten about this season (unless you watch the Sportscenter Top 10 plays on a nightly basis). He is a player who falls in and out of regular playing time for a young Suns team that is not bad enough to garner attention (the 76ers the past few years) and not good enough to get into the playoff picture and receive any attention for being an entertaining or respectable team.
Chriss was a late bloomer in the draft who utilized now infamous individual workouts displaying his athletic prowess to sky rocket from being a late first round pick to the No. 8 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns who traded up to get him.
He may not even be the most well-known or regarded rookie on his own team since the Suns took Dragan Bender at No. 4 and drafted SEC Player of the Year Tyler Ulis in round two.
If you take any time to watch him play though you can see he is an intricate and ornate puzzle that just doesn’t have the pieces together quite yet.
Chriss will be a teenager until the off-season and has only played basketball for five years now. In comparison his 19-year-old teammate Dragan Bender has played professional basketball since he was 14.
Chriss flashes the sort of lateral quickness, sheer explosiveness and ball handling ability not typically seen by players of his size (he is 6’10” with shoes). He brings back old memories of another young, raw forward who was brimming with athleticism and potential 15 years ago: Amar’e Stoudemire.
Amar’e was a 19-year-old rookie when he entered the league and won rookie of the year in the 2002-03 NBA season.
Chriss is only averaging 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds, but as the Suns fall further out of the playoff picture and he takes more of veteran Jared Dudley, P.J. Tucker and even Tyson Chandler’s minutes, he will only have the platform and opportunity to flash more of that potential that lead to the Suns becoming infatuated with him during the draft process.
He had a career-high 18 points in 31 minutes Tuesday night in a 99-90 win over the Miami Heat and flashed a lot of his skill set including knocking down two deep balls, using his athleticism and skill to get to the rim and thunderous put back dunks like this…
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 4, 2017
To think that he is holding his own in a grown man’s league against the best players in the NBA at the age of 19 with only five years of organized basketball under his belt is pretty amazing and gives a glimpse into what he can develop into during the next five years.
Chriss will still have plenty of growing pains and bumps along the road, but the Suns may have another young star to pair with Devin Booker for the future.