Alen Smailagic

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Cavaliers reportedly snap up Alfonzo McKinnie off waivers

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Going into training camp, Alfonzo McKinnie was expected to be the starting small forward for the Warriors this season.

However, injuries along the front line — Willie Cauley-Stein is out for weeks still, plus Kevon Looney and rookie Alen Smailagic are banged up — and some strong play from Marquise Chriss meant he was going to make the Warriors roster. With the team being hard capped after signing D'Angelo Russell this summer, the Warriors had no choice but to cut McKinnie.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have snapped him up off waivers.

This is a good move by the Cavaliers, a low-risk pickup — McKinnie is on a minimum contract — that could get them a 3&D wing on a young team. He played in 72 games for the Warriors last regular season plus got playoff minutes, and shot 35.6 percent from three. He’s long and athletic and a player both the Raptors and Warriors liked but had to move on from because of other roster situations.

For the Warriors, they will have Glenn Robinson III starting at the three with Alec Burks behind him. They could have really used McKennie.

Draymond Green says teams deserve blame for draft picks not developing, Marquese Chriss agrees

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Marquese Chriss was a No. 8 pick in the NBA draft who has yet to pan out. He showed a little promise as a rookie in Phoenix, but by Summer League the next July issues already seemed to pop up. His shooting percentages dropped, mostly because of questionable shot selection — every season he has taken more threes and made a lower percentage (22.2 percent last season). He wasn’t strong on defense. He looked like a player who might not be long for the NBA.

Now he’s going to make the Warriors roster. Maybe injuries to other frontcourt players — Willie Cauley-Stein, rookie Alen Smailagic, and Kevon Looney are — made keeping the 6’10” forward a smart move, but Chriss’ play in the preseason helped earn him that spot.

After a preseason game against the Lakers Wednesday, Draymond Green stuck up for Chriss, saying it may be less about the player and more about the organization. Via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole.

“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters… “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s***y 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. So I’m happy he’s got another opportunity to show what he can really do. Because he’s a prime example.”

Chriss was grateful for what Green said, as reported by Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“I appreciate him for having my back and I wholeheartedly believe what he said,” Chriss said. “Being a person to go through things like that. Having a lot of blame on you for stuff you can’t really control is tough and its growing pains with being in the NBA. I feel like it takes time to develop and learn.

“It bothers me when people try to come for my character,” he added. “I know what type of person I am and I know how my mom raised me and I know how I want to represent myself and my family so that’s the biggest thing for me is just showing that things that have been said are not true.”

Jared Dudley, who was with Chriss in Phoenix, said that it was a combination of an immature Chriss but also a Suns organization that did not create a good environment to develop players.

“He was immature,” former teammate Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Bay Area Friday afternoon. “But it’s not a bad immaturity, he just had to grow up and they threw him into the fire and sometimes kids aren’t ready for that…

“At the time Phoenix didn’t have the infrastructure to manage and control people and to develop people at that time,” Dudley added. “Three coaches in his year and a half. He was partially to blame, he was getting technical fouls, he was shooting bad shots but sometimes it’s on the organization and they failed him.”

The Warriors have a strong development program for young players, and a strong culture, on that Chriss seems to be thriving in.

Injuries helped open the door for Chriss in Golden State, but to his credit he has pushed it open wide with his play and it would not have been easy for the Warriors to let him go. He’s attacking the rim and scoring 9.5 points per game on 60.9 percent shooting (he’s still struggling from three, 20 percent, but he’s only taking 22 percent of his shots from there, down from nearly half last season). Chriss also has been a beast on the boards, grabbing 8.3 rebounds a game.

That’s impressive, but it’s also the preseason. If he can do it when things get serious starting next week, Chriss will have the redemption he wanted.

 

 

Report: ‘Important voice’ on Warriors urges GM to keep unguaranteed Marquese Chriss

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By acquiring D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, the Warriors hard-capped themselves for the rest of the season. That’s why Golden State signing Marquese Chriss to an unguaranteed contract seemingly carried little significance. For Chriss to make the regular-season roster, the Warriors would have to trade someone with a guaranteed salary or waive Alfonzo McKinnie, who might start at small forward.

But Chriss has drawn a backing.

Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

Not long after the Warriors’ first preseason game, there was a meeting somewhere in the bowels of Chase Center. It wasn’t a meeting, sources said, as much as it was a petition, a reiteration, an emphasis, to Warriors general manager Bob Myers. The request was simple in scope. Yet, it was also profound, considering it included an important voice in the locker room, considering it was about a player many have given up on.

The request? Get Marquese Chriss on this team.

Thompson doesn’t name that “important voice in the locker room,” but quotes Draymond Green:

“I think he’s been great all training camp,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been on a couple teams, and everybody has kind of written him off. But he’s been amazing in camp, and to me it looked like he’s figuring it out and he’s turning a corner.”

Green – who has touted his salary-cap savviness – should realize how difficult it’d be to keep Chriss.

Maybe another team would take No. 39 pick Alen Smailagic or No. 41 pick Eric Paschall off Golden State’s hands. But teams rarely throw away second-rounders so quickly.

Chriss was also available at the unguaranteed minimum for a reason. The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, he has some raw tools. But he has been so undisciplined with the Suns, Rockets and Cavaliers.

In the Warriors’ preseason opener against the Lakers, Chriss had eight points, six rebounds and four assists in 14 minutes. That’s not enough to make much judgment, especially considering the far longer track record of dismal regular-season production. Perhaps, the 22-year-old Chriss has shown more signs of progress behind the scenes.

I still doubt Chriss makes the regular-season roster. If he doesn’t, we’ll see how that goes over with the “important voice in the locker room.”

If Chriss does make it, Golden State faces another interesting roster move to clear room.