Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss only takes 6 shots per game, but every one of those shots could make a highlight reel.
Most of his field goal attempts are three pointers or dunks. In fact, he averages 2.1 threes and 2.3 dunks (or shots at the rim) per game and those numbers are only rising every month along with his minutes.
All of his threes are assisted spot-ups, and most of the dunks are too. But, like we saw on Monday against the Clippers, Chriss can get the ball in the post and drive right through the defender for a dunk as well.
Chriss’ shot chart tells the tale.
But Quese also has a dangerous mid-range game tucked away that he rarely breaks out at this point in his career. We saw it a bit in summer league and preseason, but his versatility has been limited during the regular season while he adjusts to the NBA as the 4th youngest player in the league.
On Tuesday night against the Heat, part of his career-high 18 points included a pretty drive and spin from the top of the key and a floater on the left block.
"I hit a little floater and I just started laughing cause I don’t really shoot those in games,” Chriss said afterward.
Watch Chriss’ highlights here. It won’t take long, but you’ll see a little of everything in his fledgling arsenal right here.
Chriss has started 29 straight games and his per-game minutes have increased each month, from 15 per game in November to 19 in December and now 21 per game in January (2 games).
The main things holding Chriss back at this point, besides inexperience, are his struggles with defense and rebounding. The inconsistent Chriss is a big net-negative on the scoreboard still - he’s a net-0 in wins versus -15 per 100 possessions in losses - though he has the athleticism to succeed in those areas some day.
Chriss also collected his seventh technical of his career on Tuesday as well, a ridiculous number for a rookie who doesn’t play a lot of minutes. Chriss has a habit of arguing with officials. Everyone jokes about it, suggesting other charities and needs that could use Chriss’ money for fines more than the league needs it.
Listen to Chriss talk about it and you can see a kid there that just needs to grow up. He realizes getting the techs is unnecessary and has the capacity to correct it.
But at the moment, Chriss is two different people on and off the court. Off the court, Chriss is soft-spoken, approachable, and even passed out cookies with a big smile to staffers and media the other night as we waited for post-game interviews. On the court, though, he’s surly and aggressive, which isn’t a surprise coming from a kid who preferred football until a few years ago.
Chriss has a long way to go, but offensively he could become something special in the coming years.
Heck, if Watson has to find a new offensive go-to guy again this spring like he did last February when he named Alex Len the team’s #1 option, I’d guess that Chriss would be the guy Watson turns to this year.
My guess is that 18 points won’t be his career-high game for long.