The Golden State Warriors are arguably the most discussed team this off-season, and it is no secret why. With superstars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson returning to the fray, there is a widespread belief in the basketball community that the team is a strong contender for next season's NBA title.
The Golden State Warriors roster, however, is still filled with plenty of holes. The lack of depth at the center position is particularly glaring. With the franchise looking towards the NBA Draft 2020, could Marquese Chriss be the man they need?
Why Marquese Chriss could be the small-ball center the Golden State Warriors are looking for
Marquese Chriss could cement the spot of backup center for the Golden State Warriors. It is unlikely that Chriss will become a starter for the franchise but he could be the answer to the roster's depth issues.
Marquese Chriss could become a versatile defensive player next season
While Marquese Chriss is hardly known for his defense, the 23-year-old quietly made steady progress at that end of the floor in the 2019-20 NBA season. An athletic big-man, Chriss has shown his ability to protect the rim during his brief stints on the inside.
One of the most impressive aspects of his development was his vastly improved pick-and-roll defense.
Despite Chriss' undeniable potential, the consensus is that he still has some way to go. The Golden State Warriors' development staff is recognized as one of the best in the league and will feel confident they can bring out the best in him.
If the franchise can help Marquese Chriss' develop his gifted physical traits and become a defensive stopper, the team will have a solid rotation piece in their ranks.
Chriss has the potential to be a threat from deep
You could be forgiven for counting Marquese Chriss out as a capable shooter after last season. After all, Chriss shot just 20.5% from three on 0.7 attempts per game in 2019-20. However, it is still possible for the 23-year-old to develop an efficient three-point shot.
While the numbers may not look encouraging at first glance, experts believe player's free throw percentage is an accurate reflection of their shooting ability. Marquese Chriss is a solid shooter from the charity stripe, and made 76.9% of his free throws last season.
Those are good numbers for a center and will give GSW reason to be positive about Chriss' potential to improve his shooting.
Interestingly, Marquese Chriss has shown the ability to shoot from deep before. In his rookie season with the Phoenix Suns, the player shot a passable 32.1% from deep on nearly three attempts per game.
Chriss will look to follow the example of players like Aron Baynes and Brook Lopez, who started out as below-average shooters from behind the arc but have now developed into genuine threats from deep.
Marquese Chriss now finds himself surrounded by arguably the two greatest shooters of all time. Three-point field goals are the Golden State Warriors' speciality and there is no better place in the NBA for a player to develop into a capable shooter.
Marquese Chriss could be a force on the inside for the Golden State Warriors
While his three-point shooting was inconsistent, Marquese Chriss' ability inside the arc on the offensive end is undeniable. The center brought variety to an usually predictable Golden State Warriors offense.
The player plays above his size and made several impressive poster dunks last season. He displayed the ability to impose himself without the spacing provided by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
With opposing defenders free to help off their man to double team Chriss, the young center was forced to operate in congested spaces. It will be interesting to see how Chriss performs when the floor is spaced ou next season.
If the Golden State Warriors direct their off-season development efforts towards transforming Marquese Chriss into a stretch five, the franchise could have an extremely effective small-ball piece on their roster for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Published 06 Nov 2020, 19:57 IST