Only one member of the Suns’ heralded, ballsy, icky 2016 draft class remained with the team heading into the 2018-19 season, and zero will enter training camp next month. Yet they are still putzing around the NBA jumping from gig to gig, the faint hope of upside lingering in their jerseys. In what could be their final NBA opportunity, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis were each signed to training camp contracts on Tuesday. Both will head to Northern California for the Warriors and Kings, respectively, as they fight for their careers.
Golden State has been forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for depth, with players like Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Alec Burks expected to play meaningful roles during the regular season. Given that the Warriors only have 13 guaranteed contracts (Alfonzo McKinnie is non-guaranteed but likely to stick around), it wouldn’t be insane to see the Warriors keep the beleaguered big man as depth behind Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
Free agent forward Marquese Chriss — 8th pick in 2016 NBA Draft — has reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 24, 2019
On the other hand, the Kings’ decision to add Ulis to their camp roster is more head-scratching. They will already be struggling to find minutes for Yogi Ferrell, a much better scoring guard than Ulis ever will be. With budding All-Star De’Aaron Fox and highly paid backup Cory Joseph plugging up the point guard spot, it’s unlikely the Kings have any use for Ulis. He will have to impress in camp to earn any sort of legitimate look.
More so than what this says for Sacramento or Golden State is the continually tarnished legacy of the summer of 2016, when the Suns’ front office, led by Ryan McDonough, pushed all their chips into the middle of the table. It couldn’t have gone worse. Chriss and Bender saw their fourth-year options get declined, and Ulis played in just one NBA game last season.
Bender is in the best position to succeed spotting up around destructive Giannis Antetokounmpo drives, but betting on any of them to be productive NBA players is probably foolish. In an ideal world, they would all be starting for the Suns this year.
At least we’ll always have this:
Marquese Chriss is 184/238 on dunks in his NBA career. That's 54 missed dunks in just 197 games. Impressive.— David Nash (@theIVpointplay) September 24, 2019
Life comes at you fast.