NBA Basketball - INACTIVE

Sacramento native Marquese Chriss stirs buzz with Phoenix

Phoenix Suns first-round draft pick Marquese Chriss, left, speaks as head coach Earl Watson listens Friday, June 24, 2016, in Phoenix. Chriss, a Sacramento-area native, averaged 10 points in three NBA Summer League games.
Phoenix Suns first-round draft pick Marquese Chriss, left, speaks as head coach Earl Watson listens Friday, June 24, 2016, in Phoenix. Chriss, a Sacramento-area native, averaged 10 points in three NBA Summer League games. The Associated Press

Marquese Chriss has been called several things: Athletic, a gamble, tough ...

The Pleasant Grove High School graduate spent one season at Washington before declaring for the NBA draft.

A 6-10 forward who was an honorable mention on the Pac-12 Conference All-Freshmen Team, Chriss was drafted by his hometown Sacramento Kings with the eighth selection in last month’s NBA draft.

However, Chriss won’t be playing at home. He was traded to the Phoenix Suns for the rights to Greek center Georgios Papagiannis, who was selected 13th overall, along with another player and draft pick.

Chriss averaged 10 points in three Summer League games and, despite missing the final three contests, is generating a buzz. Here’s a sampling of what some had to say.

Andy Furillo, The Sacramento Bee: The highlight reels out of Seattle show Chriss flying in to grab lob passes near the rim and slamming the ball. They also show a young man who gets back on defense and uses his dragon-like wingspan to jam up opponents beneath the rim. Give him a couple of inches outside the stripe, and you better be ready to turn around in time to see the swish. ... Chriss knows he has to pay more attention to rebounding. Even with his fantastic shot-blocking abilities, he concedes his defense needs work – he reaches and fouls too much, the experts say. ... Once he gets all the other stuff, and it could take a couple of years, the prognosis around the NBA is that Chriss can become an All-Star.

Matt Petersen, Suns.com: Phoenix fortified the power forward position by drafting two prospects that could fill that role long-term. As top-10 picks, Dragan Bender (fourth) and Marquese Chriss (eighth) attracted a lot of eyes at Summer League, and they left those eyes wanting to see more. Chriss’ effort on the glass was especially tantalizing. The 6-10 forward snagged 9.0 rebounds per contest before sitting out the final three games due to illness.

Jason Leiser, The Seattle Times: There was a time when this was unimaginable for Marquese Chriss. Five years ago as a high-school freshman, he was strictly a football player. Now Chriss is on the brink of nabbing a starting role on a professional basketball team. The Phoenix Suns, a franchise stuck at the bottom of the NBA, picked Chriss No. 8 in the draft this year and they’re hoping he can help lead them back to a respectable place.

Michael Pina, Vice Sports: A lottery ticket that fell into Phoenix’s lap when the Sacramento Kings decided to trade back in last month’s draft, Chriss may be nothing more than Amar’e Stoudemire karaoke. Or, he may be an epic stretch four who was born to thrive in today’s league, where athleticism and outside shooting have never been more important.

HOW THEY FARED

A look at the Summer League statistics for the Suns’ Marquese Chriss and the Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis:

Papagiannis

Stat

Chriss

4

Games

3

20.5

Min/Gm

30.3

5.3

Pts/Gm

10

.357

FG Pct.

.333

4.8

Reb/Gm

9

0

Ast/Gm

.3

.5

Stl/Gm

.3

0

Blk/Gm

.7

Compiled by Noel Harris

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