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Keen Draft Profiles #12: Chriss-mas Declared Early this Year

There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas.

– Robert Straughton Lynd, Sociologist





6’9” • 225

Marquese Chriss is a true freshman power forward for the Washington Huskies who wasn’t super hyped before the season but is now considered a lottery pick because of his explosion onto the scene over the college basketball season. In his only season, he averaged 13.7 points / 5.4 rebounds / 0.8 assists on .530 percent shooting and a PER of 21.7. The Huskies made it to the second round of the NIT in the postseason this year off of his 27 points in the first round.  

So why are people high on Chriss? Probably because he can do stuff like this.

And this whole video:

What pops out about Marquese Chriss is his athleticism.  The dude can jump.  He can run the floor, he’s got lateral quickness, and is always a threat to put-back his teammate’s misses with a posterizing dunk.  In fact, he averages 2.5 offensive rebounds per game, and plays and average of just an 25 minutes a game.  If any of you math nerds out there can figure out how many rebounds when stretched out to 40 minutes, shoot me a tweet because I can’t figure it out.


His style is a face-up power-forward who can stretch the floor with his credible (but not elite) three-point shot (.350 percent for the season). He runs the floor well in transition and is great at catching lobs off of alley-oops. For that reason, he should be an elite player in the right role.

Unfortunately, as a defensive rebounder, he’s not great; in fact, he’s not good at all.  With 5.4 total rebounds per game, with a frighteningly low total rebound percentage at 10.7%, Chriss is one of the weaker candidates in this category of all bigs in the first round. Though he’s not particularly imposing for a power forward, he is still 6′ 9″, and with his hops he should be more Tenacious on the D glass.  

Chriss1280Another reason that Everybody Hates Chriss is that he led the NCAA in fouls last season.  In 25 minutes per game he averaged 4.1 fouls, which speaks to his major problems on defense.  He’s often out of position and bites on fakes easily, which results in extra opportunities for opposing players.  This can only be attributed to lazy defense – as in he swats at the ball once a player is already in position to score – which won’t fly in the NBA, where players are much stronger physically and will be able to finish through half-assed defensive contact.  It’s the basketball equivalent of arm-tackling a guy in football: it’s just not gonna work against strong forwards and centers.

Chriss is a pure 4, but with the Warriors running the “death” line-up, and other NBA teams running small-ball rotations with power forwards playing center, this is a weakness.  In his current state, he wouldn’t be able to hang with NBA centers in both a play-style and physical level: he’d be a liability as a rim protector (foul trouble) and as a rebounder (inability to crash the boards on defense). If he can improve his rebounding form and cultivate some mass, he might be a more effective paint player; but until then, he’s an upside on offense and a problem on all aspects of defense.


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