Date of Birth: 07/2/1997 (18 years old)
Draft Range: 8 - 18
Stats from DraftExpress.com
Weight: 225 pounds
Standing Reach: 8'9"
Marquese Chriss has only been playing competitive basketball for a few years, yet he already has an impressive skill set on the offensive side of the floor, though it still needs some polishing. Marquese is a fantastic leaper with soft hands, which allows him to catch and finish alley-oops with one or two hands high above the rim. He runs the floor well allowing him to be a threat in transition. Marquese is always a threat on the offensive glass to have a tip in or put back dunk. Marquese has potential to become a good roll-man and cutter.
Marquese shows potential to become a three-point threat. He shot thirty-five percent in college on 1.8 attempts per game. His jumper has good form and with more repetition he will become a better shooter. He is dangerous from mid-range with a face-up jumper, post fall-away, and a quick first step to blow past slower power forwards. He shot 43.9 percent on two-point jumpers and 56.8 percent on all two-point field goal attempts. Going back to his quick first step, Marquess is able to get to the rim with one or two dribbles and is not afraid of contact, coming from a football background. He likes to drive left but rarely finishes with his left hand, which gets him into trouble occasionally.
Marquese's post game still needs polishing but his right handed hook shot and post turn-around are above average for an eighteen year old. Marquess loves to do spin moves in the post and is very effective by how fast he spins past his defender.
Marquese needs to improve his ball handling as most of his drives are straight lined. His decision making is questionable as well. He puts his head down on drives, rarely looking to pass and forces up bad shots as a result. His passing ability is his worst attribute on offense. He often looks rushed or tries forcing passes instead of making the smart pass. He averaged 2 turnovers per game and only 0.8 assists per game. As mentioned earlier his shooting could improve from the three-point line. He also needs to improve his accuracy from the free-throw line, only shooting 68.5 percent. Strength is also an issue for Marquese, he is only 225, which makes it tougher for him to finish in the lane.
Let's start with the positives on defense. Marquese Chriss has very good lateral quickness, which allows him to contain guards when switched onto them. He has excellent timing when blocking opponents shots, he averaged 1.6 per game in 24.9 minutes. He is also quick enough to jump the passing lanes for steals.
Marquese's glaring weakness is his defensive rebounding. It was absolutely horrible for an athletic 6'9 power forward, even with only a 8'9 standing reach. Marquese rarely boxes out his opponent, tries to use pure athleticism to grab rebounds, and shows a lack of effort to attack the glass.
According to DraftExpress:
At 4.1 rebounds per-40, Chriss ranks among the least prolific power forwards in NBA Draft history according to our database. Among first round picks, only Thaddeus Young (who played mostly SF in college) had a worse defensive rebounding rate in the draft's last 30 years.
Defending the post could be a problem against bigger and stronger NBA power forwards. He will need to gain strength and muscle if he wants to hold his own in the post. Regarding perimeter man-to-man defense, he sometimes lacks the motivation to get low and stop his defender from driving past him. Marquese lacks fundamentals, consistently, discipline, and a high motor on the defensive end. Not including the motor, this could be from the lack of experience.
Marquese wants to block every shot. This gets him into foul trouble a lot. He also reaches too often getting unnecessary fouls putting himself and his team in a bad situation. Marquese fouled out of 15 of 34 games. 73.5 percent of the games Marquese played he had four or more fouls. That's not a good percentage.
Fit with Phoenix
The Suns need a power forward. Mirza Teletovic is a free agent and not a long term solution, neither is Jon Leuer. The 2016 draft class is considered weak after the first two prospects, Ingrim and Simmons, so why not take a chance on a young athletic forward with a high ceiling. Marquese isn't an instant solution for the Suns power forward problem, but if he continues to develop he could be in two or three years. The Suns are in rebuild mode and can take the time it will need to develop Marquese. The motor on the defensive end and fouls are a big concern, but if Earl Watson is the great motivator that the players and front office say he is, it could help Marquese. If Marquese simply starts boxing out more his rebounding will improve. Once Marquese gets more basketball under his belt, his basketball IQ and fundamentals should improve, lessening the amount of fouls he commits. Marquese is a good fit on the offensive end for the Suns as a potential stretch four who can get out in transition and finish around the rim. The Suns are missing an athletic big man and Marquese could be the answer.
Marquese has received high praise by his former high school coach, John DePonte, as well as his teammates. DePonte had this to say about Marquese:
"Marquese is a very nice kid, very respectful. As a competitor on the court, he at times had to improve his body English. He's still a young guy. But you can see the joy he plays with, and he can do things in this game a lot of people can't do.
"He switches one through five, so I think for us he contributes in so many ways that are outside of what he's doing on the box score. He just helps us out so many ways, puts out so many fires."