Fit matters. Style of play matters. A lot.
For the vast majority of NBA players, being in the right situation for their talents and personalities are crucial. If we’re talking LeBron James/Anthony Davis/James Harden and the other elite players in the league then the rules change, the style of game a team plays doesn’t much matter because they will dominate regardless of the system. But for everyone else, being put in a position that plays to their strengths and hides their weaknesses can be the difference between thriving in a role and ending up watching games from the bench. It also can matter when the checks come twice a month.
That brings us to Marquese Chriss.
The athletic power forward struggled to find his way during his two seasons in Phoenix, then the third-year player was sent to Houston as part of the Ryan Anderson trade. Rockets GM Daryl Morey thinks the change of scenery — and system to Mike D’Antoni’s open style — that could be very good for Chriss.
“Marquese is a guy, in Mike’s offense, who can roll and finish at the rim and very athletic. We feel like he is underrated as well.”
The “as well” part is because Morey thinks point guard Brandon Knight — also acquired from the Suns — is underrated as well. Knight showed that potential before a torn ACL in 2017, if he is fully healthy, he has shown he can live up to that billing.
Chriss has work to do. He doesn’t have much of a shot, scoring a woeful 0.79 points per spot-up shot attempts, plus he took 35 percent of his shot attempts from three but hit just 29 percent of them. He’s athletic, can run the floor and get to the rim, but he shot just 62 percent at the rim (well below the league average) and scored just a point per possession in transition. A hip injury slowed him, and he finished the season on a better note, but can he do it over the course of a season?
Chriss can run the floor, he just has to do it at full speed every time, then finish better. If not, he’ll have great seats for the Rockets’ deep playoff run this season, but little else.