NBA Position: PF
General Information: 18-year-old freshman, played at Washington. From Rancho Cordova, CA.
Measurables: 6'10', 233 lbs. 7'0.25" wingspan, 8'9" standing reach, 38.5' max vertical.
2015-16 Season Statistics: 13.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 2.0 TOPG (34 games played, 24.9 minutes per contest) - 53.0% FG, 68.5% FT, 35.0% 3P
Local collegiate prospect Marquesse Chriss, who played at nearby Pleasant Grove High School, is an elite leaper with a NBA highlight real waiting to happen if he deserves the minutes. He flashes great potential as a rim-runner, shooter, and versatile defender, but his skill set is raw. Are the Kings a patient enough organization to properly develop and wait for the 18-year-old's skill set to solidify?
While Chriss' skills on offense are all still very much in development, he's shown key abilities for a modern NBA stretch four. He's good at using his athletic gifts to get open, shows an ability on the catch and shoot, and with his size and quick reflexes makes nice looks in face-up isolations. Washington worked to utilize Marquese in the offense (10 FG attempts per game), and he showed solid promise while playing in a Pac-12 conference with good NBA talent.
His head clears the rim on most of his dunks. He's shown great timing in transition, and while he offers no threat as the passer, he attacks without fear. He's also a dangerous weapon with the ball at the top of the key—his handles will need significant work, but a fantastic first step mean defenders will have to respect the drive. His assist rate of 6.8% highlights his somewhat sticky fingers and lack of passing instincts.
Chriss's shooting isn't a proven commodity; that 35% three-point number is appealing, but it was with only 21 makes and represented just 18% of his offense. His only immediate weapon will be his steam-train ability in transition. He's very raw and will need a patient organization with a good development staff. If he can develop a consistent shot and more offensive options, he's going to be a versatile weapon, but that is a moderately weighty ‘if'.
Like his offensive awareness, Chriss showed good improvement over the year but still needs plenty of learning opportunities. He's got mad hoops and a good timing with blocks, especially as the help defender. His 2.0% steal rate and 5.9% block rate are solidly strong numbers for an 18-year-old prospect. His versatility could even extend to defending guards—he's certainly laterally quick enough to stay with some—but it'll take a few years of coaching to see how aware a defender he can become. He's got too many bad defensive moments, and his 4.1 foul per game average highlights his lack of developed instincts.
He's a good offensive rebounder and doesn't hang on the outside waiting for a shot. He's willing to muscle for dunks and is impressively muscled for an 18-year-old. Defensive rebounding is a different story; prospects normally don't have an offensive rebounding rate (9.8%) close to their defensive rebounding rate (11.8%). DraftExpress pointed out just how poor his defensive rebounding is for a prospect at his position;
At 4.1 rebounds per-40, Chriss ranks among the least prolific power forwards in NBA Draft history according to our database. Among first round picks, only Thaddeus Young (who played mostly SF in college) had a worse defensive rebounding rate in the draft's last 30 years. Chriss almost never puts a body on opposing big men in an attempt to box out and prepare for loose balls coming off the glass, and his relatively small standing reach (measured at 8'9, comparable with most small forwards) didn't help matters much.
His future coaches will need to convince him to give full effort on both ends and work on his box out.
Chriss has an edge on both ends of the court, and his motor can get real hot when he's confident. This didn't lead to permanent consistency on either end, which would be the biggest bonus for a twitch athlete with a steep learning curve.
He attended nearby Pleasant Grove High School, and which provides a fun (if basketball irrelevant) anecdote for the Kings. While he's certainly raw, I can see why he's a sleeper pick for a growing number of draft voices; he's emerged from anonymity to draft sweetheart exceptionally quickly, and did so producing decent numbers in a decent college conference. He'll be best on a team who can handle him being a long-term value and doesn't need to rely on him being a contributor by the end of year one.
Fit with Sacramento:
Marquese is a swing-force-for-the-fences pick. He's an exciting, athletic young prospect who flashes ability at most of what the Kings would want in a long-term, versatile stretch four. As he fills into his body, he could be a weapon alongside both Willie Cauley-Stein and DeMarcus Cousins if he develops the shot and commits to developing more passing skills.
Chriss met with the Kings and cited Rudy Gay as his favorite NBA player, according to the Sac Bee.
If the Kings were to select Chriss in the first round, that would be fine with him. He'd love a chance to play close to his friends and family. It also would give him an opportunity to play alongside his favorite NBA player.
"I try to play like Rudy Gay," Chriss said. "I feel like he's very versatile. He can play from the perimeter, he can post people up, he can put the ball on the ground consistently. I'm working on my ballhandling to get more confident with that."
Rudy Gay offers an interesting mold for Chriss, from the quick outside shot and face-up isos to the weaknesses at passing, ball-control, and defensive consistency.
If the Kings want to implement a stretch-four into the offense immediately, they'll have to look in free agency. Marquese is a long-term investment pick with plenty of promise, but the Kings want to compete as soon as possible. Would they be able to wait a few years, justify using their biggest offseason decision on a raw prospect, and win enough to be patient as Dave Joreger (and the Reno staff) develop Marquese in the background? I can't see Vlade pulling the trigger, but it would say a lot about the team's faith in themselves.
If Chriss booms in the NBA, he could become the star version of Markieff Morris' skill set without with the Markieff Morris part. There are plenty of reasons for optimism, but there are too many flags in his development for him to rise on my big board. I don't see the Kings taking such a raw prospect over a safer option (Denzel Valentine), a more calculated, safer risk (Timothe Luwawu), or trading the pick for proven help (but hey - said that about Nik Stauskas two years ago.)
As always, check out the DraftExpress breakdowns.