The Phoenix Suns need to choose between Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss for the backup power forward spot. Let’s examine the case for playing each.
As things stand, the Suns are congested at the four spot. Trevor Ariza and Josh Jackson are likely starters on the wings. Mikal Bridges will get plenty of minutes off the bench. So will T.J. Warren. The opportunities for minutes are very limited.
That means, barring a trade, only one of Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss can be a key cog in a hypothetical ten-man rotation. Both were taken in the top ten of the 2016 NBA Draft, but neither has lived up to the high expectations that come with being a high draft pick.
Luckily, both still have the potential to become quality NBA players with the right improvements, and both have useful skills that can make them bench contributors this season.
Part of the decision will come down to who the team views as the better player right now, but they’ll also have to take into account each of their potentials. By failing to give significant minutes to either player, they effectively give up on their Phoenix Suns career.
The decision will also take into account fit based on style of play. Bender can shoot the rock, but he can’t do much else. Chriss is a well rounded defender, but his shot has been missing since he entered the league. That will likely result in both guys seeing situational opportunities.
But still, only one player can get the primary backup minutes, and whoever does will have a major developmental advantage over the other. Let’s examine the case for both Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss to get the backup four spot based on their previous play, fit, and upside.