The Golden State Warriors and Marquese Chriss may have found each other at the perfect moment. The hard cap remains an obstacle, but if the Warriors can find a way, Chriss can be the next redemption story.
The Golden State Warriors built a dynasty and in return “redeemed” themselves as a franchise long stuck in the bowels of the NBA’s inferior teams. Along the way to five straight NBA Finals appearances and three championships, they also helped redeem many NBA player’s careers.
Having slowly rebuilt his career after injury, Shaun Livingston became a three-time world champion. Javale McGee, carrying potential but eventually becoming nothing but a “running joke,” became a reliable rotation player and back-to-back champion with Golden State. The same can be said for Nick Young, who also got a ring in his lone season with the Warriors.
Golden State, having cultivated a winning culture after years of disarray, have become one of the few franchises capable of turning players’ careers around. And they might have their latest “reclamation project” on hand this season.
According to The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, Marquese Chriss, who was brought to the Warriors as a training camp invite, just may have a legitimate shot at making the roster. Chriss played just 13 minutes in the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers, but made four of six shots on the night for eight points, with six rebounds and four assists.
Per Thompson, the former number eight overall pick had such a compelling performance against Los Angeles, that current Warriors players are now pleading GM Bob Myers to find some way, some how to get Chriss on the roster.
The sign-and-trade deal that brought D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors, which triggered the hard cap, makes that goal more difficult.
Chriss, at 6’10 with a seven-foot wingspan, has the physicals to warrant a shot at making the roster. He was a former top ten lottery pick after all. Will he immediately solve the Warriors’ problems and bring them back to contention?
No, but he fits exactly what Golden State needs right now. In the middle of a roster reboot, the Warriors are looking for young players, athletic players that can come off the bench, and most importantly at a bargain.
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Yet, more importantly, Golden State fits what Chriss needs as well. There’s a reason why the former lottery pick has bounced around the league to the point of relying on a training camp invite. Chriss has explained the reasoning himself:
"“I was a young hot-headed little kid…I think that’s how I look at it. I think early I was just playing strictly off emotion and things like that and just trying to find my way and just wasn’t really containing myself. But I think that I’m mentally stronger than I give myself credit for. I’ve heard good things, positive things from the coaches…I’m just trying to stay open-minded and keep being coached. Whether or not it works out here…my goal was to show them that this was where I should be and put the pressure on them.”"
Winning championships will forever be the top priority for the Warriors franchise, espeically as they usher in a new era in their shiny new arena in San Francisco. But Golden State has always prided itself on the manner in which they’ve reached the mountaintop, on how exactly they won those championships.
Despite having arguably the two greatest shooters of all time, and harnessing perhaps the greatest starting lineup ever assembled, they’ve also done so with contributions from the team as a whole. “Strength in Numbers” is the mantra during the postseason, and many contributions have come from players deemed as “castoffs” and “washed.”
Not for Golden State, as they’ve proven they can redeem players’ careers and create a lasting legacy for them. Will Marquese Chriss be the next redemption story for the Warriors? Time will tell, but it just may be a match at the right time for both of them.