Chriss signs with Portland, ending Dub Nation’s faint hope that he’d return to the Bay.
The Golden State Warriors did not succeed in swaying veteran big man Paul Millsap to come play in the Bay Area. The versatile power forward has landed with the juggernaut-on-paper Brooklyn Nets, giving him arguably his best chance to win the ring that’s eluded him over his 15-year career.
Cool, now get Kevin Love after the buyout or Marquese Chriss https://t.co/M6qX9Ux06g
— Kuminga Agenda (@sprdsheetcurry) September 2, 2021
But that’s not the big man signing that most stunned me in regards to the Warriors missing out. I’m more down about the Dubs not bringing back Marquese Chriss, who signed a non-guaranteed deal with Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Free agent C/F Marquese Chriss has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Chriss has fully recovered from broken leg last December and will compete for a roster spot in Blazers’ camp.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 4, 2021
Bummer! Chriss was projected to be a major part of the Warriors center rotation last season before the injury bug that ravaged Golden State’s roster struck him too. I know much was made about the lost season of All-Star Klay Thompson and the absences of Kelly Oubre Jr. and James Wiseman when the Warriors missed the postseason, but Chriss’ broken leg was a major factor in Golden State’s struggles.
After bouncing around the league for years, the former #8 overall pick Chriss emerged as reliable option in the 2020 season at the center spot for the Dubs. He was a reclamation project that paid immediate dividends, as his athleticism and passing IQ flourished in Golden State’s system.
In 59 games during that season he averaged career high in scoring (9.3), rebounding (6.2) and blocked shots (1.05). At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, Chriss had the quickness to fly around and the bounce to posterize anybody who got in his way. His turnaround that season was responsible for teammate Draymond Green’s explosive commentary on how terrible NBA franchises can ruin a player’s potential, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports:
“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters Wednesday night, after a 126-93 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s—ty franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.
“He’s getting older now, so he’s not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid. But it’s never the organization’s fault. It’s always that guy.”
Chriss only played two games last season before fracturing his leg. Eventually the Warriors traded him to the San Antonio Spurs, where he was cut. Warriors Coach Steve Kerr was bummed out to see him go:
“The [Chriss trade] is a really tough one,” Kerr said. ”We love Marquese. He really improved last year and had a great season for us and he’s beloved in the locker room. He put in a lot of work. Obviously the injury was devastating for him this year. But this is the NBA and business is business, and so we understand. Marquese understands. We spoke today and I know a lot of his teammates talked to him too. We’ll really miss him and wish him the best.”
The 24-year old Sacramento native gets a chance to resume his career with the Blazers, which is the most important thing. But dangit, I think he’d look a lot better in the blue and gold.