This week, Warriors three-time All-Star forward Draymond Green has stepped up his personal campaign to get former Suns top pick Marquese Chriss onto the Warriors for the season. Chriss signed a training-camp-only contract, called an Exhibit 10 deal, which will expire at the end of this week.
The Warriors, at this point, cannot sign him to an NBA deal. They are completely capped out to where they are not even allowed to spend league minimum on any more players even if they have the roster room. Period.
Enter Marquese Chriss, who in three short years has gone from touted 8th overall draft pick to being dumped three times to out of a job.
He’s now trying to hook on with the Warriors, and has Draymond Green in his corner to make the team as their 15th man.
In four preseason games, Chriss is 4th on the team in minutes played (22.6 per game), averaging 9.5 points (60% overall, 20% on threes), 8.3 rebounds, .5 steals, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game (and 3.5 personal fouls).
That’s pretty good, Quese! His two-year career regular season averages with the Suns: 21.4 minutes, 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, .9 assists, .8 steals, .9 blocks (and 3 personal fouls).
Chriss has gotten lots of playing time thanks to the Warriors resting their best players (Steph and Dray are 5th and 6th in minutes) as well as nursing injuries to their big men.
But the Warriors are not allowed to keep Chriss past Saturday unless they shed salary some other way — by releasing the non-guaranteed contract of starting small forward Alfonzo McKinnie, or by trading another player into some other team’s cap space using limited means per the collective bargaining agreement rules.
Draymond’s campaign is likely geared toward trying to clear Chriss’ name so that, even if he gets released as expected by the Warriors, he might get a new chance with another team. The barely-22 year old, 6’10” athletically gifted Chriss spent all summer waiting for a team to call with a contract offer but no one did. He’s been labeled a bust, and teams would apparently rather draft their own busts than sign someone else’s.
Chriss entered the league as a completely raw but gifted man-child, standing 6’10” with 7-foot plus wingspan, able to jump through the roof, make a three, slam with emphasis and do just about anything he wanted.
In fact, at 20 years and 215 days old, he became the third youngest player ever to amass 100 each of three-pointers, blocks and steals. Just think about that. That’s a really cool combination of things he can do.
And yet, three months later he was dumped onto the Rockets, who later dumped him on the Cavaliers, who later released him and now he’s got to settle for a training camp contract with a team who can’t even keep him around.
How does that happen? How do you go from a touted prospect to ... out of the league by age 22?
Throughout his three teams, he’s been a bull in a china shop because he’s never picked up the nuances of NBA basketball. He’s been a net-negative since he stepped into the league — fouling like crazy, making poor decisions, arguing with the refs and generally only showing glimpses of his immense talent.
In Draymond Green’s eyes, the fault is with the organization. And in some measure, he says it’s also the fault of the local media for not taking the organization to task, and instead putting all the blame on Chriss. It’s not Chriss’ fault.
“No one ever blames the situation. They blame the kid,” Green said after a preseason game this week.
Watch these embedded videos to see Draymond’s take on Chriss’ plight:
Draymond Green on Marquese Chriss: “No one ever blames the situation, they blame the kid. No one ever blames these shitty franchises...No Phoenix writer is going to bash the Suns, but let’s be frank, when he was there, the organization was terrible.” pic.twitter.com/vw3t4NKxwY— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 17, 2019
Draymond Green said the Suns’ dysfunction is to blame for Marquese Chriss being in the position he’s in, having to compete for a roster spot: pic.twitter.com/gbIueqzOyi— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) October 17, 2019
“No Phoenix writer is going to bash the Suns,” Green said.
Um. Ex-squeeze me. I think there are tons of local media who bash the organization for their failures to develop talent.
Why does he think we don’t bash the team?
“Because you’re friends with them,” he told the Warriors media. “And you want all the access from them. So the way you guys come out and bash players y’all don’t do that to organizations. It’s about access, and protecting your future.”
In some ways, he’s right on that. The beat writers don’t bash the organization. But they don’t bash the players either. They are always neutral to positive, because that’s what beat writing is all about. Journalists are professionals. You report the facts. And share the quotes. And stay neutral.
So what is Draymond talking about?
Maybe he’s talking about the radio shows? Or the blogs or podcasts?
I disagree with that too. We bloggers, podcasters and radio personalities bash the organization just as much as the players. Because we are expected to be impassioned. We are expected to have an opinion.
You may disagree with our opinions. Some of us are more naturally in support of the players at the expense of the organization. While others of us are more inclined to support the organization than the players. That’s what free speech and human nature are all about.
I’ve been accused of being too nice about the players. And I’ve also been accused of being too nice about the organization. Sometimes out of the same article!
It’s not about me preserving access to the team. In fact, I’ve regularly been told directly by the Suns folks that I’m sometimes too harsh on them, but they don’t restrict my access because they know I never lie. I never make stuff up. Same with Evan. And Brendon. And Gerald Bourget of the theStepBack.com and formerly HoopsHabit.com. And Kellan Olson of arizonasports,com. And all the others who are on site to cover the team for various entities.
We bash the organization. We praise the organization. We bash the players. We praise the players. We bash everyone. We praise everyone.
Yes, I bash the players more often than not. I think it’s Chriss’ job to show up IN SHAPE to summer league after his first season. He didn’t. I think it’s Chriss’ job to pick up the schemes, the rotations, to be in the right place at the right time where the coach tells you to be. I think it’s Chriss’ job to be in the gym constantly to refine his shooting stroke. I think it’s Chriss’ job not to get suspended for being flippant to the coaches when he doesn’t get his way.
But I also blame the organization as a whole. You guys and gals KNOW this. It’s the organization’s fault for failing OVER AND OVER on these draft picks. I constantly talk about this. I’ve written article after article, done pod after pod, blaming the organization for losing 73% of their games the last four seasons. I blame the organization for alienating, like, EVERYONE.
I’m not here to protect anyone. I’m not here to make the Suns look better than they are.
And I’m not here to protect Marquese Chriss.
“No one’s really protecting these younger guys’ future,” Draymond Green said. “Because it’s all about protecting yourself, so no one talks about the organizations. It’s always just player player player because they can’t do shit about it but be young, carry no weight and be out of the league and on to the next thing.”
He’s right on part of this. But the players don’t protect each other either.
There’s only 450 players in this league and every summer 200 of them are free agents and 300 new players are trying to take their jobs. The players aren’t protecting each other either. It’s dog eat dog. Survival of the fittest.
All I do is talk about it.
And share it with y’all so you can commiserate in the comment sections.