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Phoenix Suns Player Preview 2016-17: How High Can Marquese Chriss Fly?

Boom or Bust?

Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Back before this year's NBA draft there was an SB Nation article that called Marquese Chriss the biggest "boom-or-bust" prospect in the draft. So far Marquese has been very much more of a boom.

I honestly wasn't very hyped about the Suns drafting him but he's definitely won me over... and I'm not the only one. Fox Sports has ranked him second in their Rookie Preseason Power Rankings and head coach Earl Watson has said "You’re going to see him take an amazing leap.” Some fans have compared him to Amare Stoudemire. There have been other comparisons too but Marquese isn't the next anyone. He is himself. He is unique. And he looks as though he is going to be very good.

Here are his 16 points against the Blazers this preseason.

And his 14 against the Jazz.

And you can see his three point stroke in these game highlights of the Suns against the Mavericks. Both he and Dragan Bender showed off their long range.

This kid can fly, finish at the rim and showed a nice three point stroke in the Dallas game. He's also tough and seemingly fearless. Ask Andrew Bogut if you doubt me. Offensively he's going to be a force off the bench and will give the Suns an almost completely different look when he subs in for Jared Dudley. His dunks are what will be his signature for a while (and we should see more than a few on Sports Center highlight reels) but he's also shown that he's a threat from the outside too.

Chriss has made some big strides even since college a few short months ago. Here is a video of Marquese highlighting his performance in the NIT tournament.

As a sub, it's doubtful that he will find many opposing players that will be able to stop him. And in certain situations, he could overwhelm opposing starters offensively but he's not ready to start yet. As much promise as he has shown, he still has some shortcomings that opposing players - especially starting caliber players - can use against him. Although he gives supreme effort on every play, he still has a lot to learn on defense.

His style of play might best be described as aggressive which can be both good and bad. On defense his aggressive nature has caused him to average 4.2 fouls per game in the preseason and foul out of two games. He's going to need to learn to play smarter on defense without losing that aggressiveness. Like a lot of young athletically gifted players, he bites too often on pump fakes and reaches and slaps too much trying for a steal which leads to cheap fouls.

In his six preseason games (heavy accent on preseason) he has averaged 12.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in 25.4 minutes per game. He is fourth on the team in scoring, fourth in rebounding, tied for second in steals with Eric Bledsoe and tied with Dragan Bender and Alan Williams for second in blocks. Even in preseason, his performance has been fairly impressive for a rookie, especially one who has been described as "raw". As raw as he is, he still looks like a potential star on the court.

As a rebounder he's only averaged 5.5 RPG in the preseason. That's just barely above his 5.4 RPG average in collage and not very good for a PF/C in the NBA. This could very well be because he relies too much on his athletic ability and just tries to out jump everyone instead of boxing out and working to get good positioning for a rebound. Hopefully he will learn these things which combined with his athletic ability should make him an above average rebounder.

Marquese is a very gifted athlete who has the potential to become a star in the NBA. But first he has to be willing to learn some of the basics that he missed out on learning early on by being a latecomer to organized basketball. He is extremely athletic but has to realize that will get him only so far in the NBA.

Marquese Chriss may never reach the status of being an NBA star player but he’s already shown that he belongs in the NBA.

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