Basketball

Suns given high marks for getting Elk Grove’s Chriss

Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, reacts as he dunks the ball for a basket over Colorado forward Kenan Guzonjic in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 13, 2016, in Boulder, Colo.
Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, reacts as he dunks the ball for a basket over Colorado forward Kenan Guzonjic in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 13, 2016, in Boulder, Colo. Associated Press file

Elk Grove’s Marquese Chriss was a King for mere minutes on Thursday night before being dealt from his hometown team – which took him with the No. 8 overall pick in the NBA draft – to the Phoenix Suns.

While the Kings’ draft haul has largely been panned by NBA experts, the Suns have received mostly strong grades for adding Chriss after selecting fellow big man Dragan Bender with the No. 4 overall pick.

Here’s a sampling of how the Suns adding Chriss is being viewed:

ESPN’s Chad Ford

Grade: A-

“Chriss is the freakiest athlete in the draft. It’s rare to see a 6-foot-10 guy who can move the way he can.”

Todaysfastbreak.com

Grade: B+

“The Suns also became more explosive by adding Chriss, who also has a promising outside jumper. The Bender/Chriss picks give them a fascinating mix of skill and athleticism.”

CBS Sports’ Sam Vecenie

Grade: B-

The Suns are giving up No. 13, No. 28 and Bogdan Bogdanovic here for Chriss, which isn't awful value by any means. He's the end of a tier, and consolidating your value here for a guy in Chriss that plenty of people around the league love is smart. I’m just not the biggest fan of Chriss as a player, especially with Bender already in the mix, so I can’t go much higher than B-.

USA Today

Grade: A

“In the first eight picks, the Suns snagged the two best bigs not named Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. For a team whose top talent lies in the backcourt, the addition of a 6-10, 230 forward with three-point range and elite athleticism is a home run. That said, Chriss is still a significant project who can’t be counted on to contribute immediately.”

Dakota Schmidt of SB Nation

Grade: A-

“For Marquese Chriss, (the Suns) select a player with one of the highest upsides in this year’s draft class. At 6’10, 230 pounds, Chriss shines due to his incredible athleticism and solid perimeter stroke. With some refining, he can develop into a bonafide NBA stud.”

Forbes’ Josh Benjamin

Grade: B+

“The former Husky is a fine forward who can play down low and also stretch the floor, making him a perfect fit in Phoenix while Bender develops. A few years down the road, don’t be surprised if he and Bender form a phenomenal frontcourt in the desert, especially if he plays a bit more conservatively and stays out of foul trouble while adding to a spindly 6-foot-9, 225 pound frame.”

Bleacher Report

Grade: B+

“The Suns traded back into the top 10 to get their hands on Marquese Chriss, who will either develop into the next two-way stud or the second coming of Anthony Randolph. He’s a project player, which means Phoenix has dedicated two of its roster spots to power forwards in need of serious development.”

SI.com's Jeremy Woo

Grade: B–

“The Kings sent this pick to Phoenix for Nos. 13 and 28, a 2020 second-rounder, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, a shooter currently stashed overseas. It’s a net gain in terms of high-end talent for the Suns – a major need for them – but taking a player whose position resembles the guy they just took, Dragan Bender, makes it a bit of a head-scratcher. Chriss has star upside, but also may have further to go than any of the elite talents in the draft. You can’t fault the Suns for taking the highest-upside guy left, but their long-term plan is slightly fuzzy at the moment.”

Brad Winter of The Corner Three

Grade: A

“... In many ways, Chriss and Bender are very similar prospects. Both are good shooters for their positions, are switchable defenders and provide any team with flexibility. There is enough defense, offense, shooting and playmaking to go around in that frontcourt for everyone and their ability to guard multiple positions defensively will make the Suns a defensive juggernaut in the future if things pan out well.”

Compiled by Stu Rosenberg

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