Happy Birthday to former Phoenix Sun Forward Marquese Chriss!

Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

I mean, his experience with the Phoenix Suns wasn’t exactly..well, pleasant. However, the young big man is only 23!

Yup, another birthday this week! We had both Tariq Owens (and Trevor Ariza) this past week, and just like Ariza, we’re looking back at another former member of the Phoenix Suns who had his moments during some of the darker times of Suns history.

Marquese Chriss was drafted eighth overall in 2016 by the Sacramento Kings who then traded him to Phoenix for Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissiere, the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the rights to the 13th and 28th in the draft.

Heading into the draft, Chriss had been a surprisingly fast riser, going from some projections that had him as a mid to late first-round pick all the way to being talked about as a potential top-three draft pick. (Looking back, I will just say that 2016 mock drafts were…..interesting.)

In an odd piece of history, Chriss was the first prospect that was outside of the top 50 rankings who ended up being drafted in the top 10 as a one-and-done player since the rule was brought back in 2005. No one said he should have been, but hey, it’s a neat piece of NBA trivia!

Related Story. Happy Birthday to Tariq Owens! (and possibly Trevor Ariza). light

Chriss had an up and down first year, as rookies are wont to do, with electrifying plays that flashed his potential, juxtaposed with boneheaded errors and an irrationally hot temper. He played in all 82 games, made the rising stars challenge for the U.S. team, and he became the 14th player in Suns history to make an All-Rookie team when he made NBA All-Rookie second team at the end of the season.

Chriss would close the year out with averages of 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds on 44% from the field and 32% from three-point range. Not great, no, but he was a rookie, and he would develop and continue to improve.


Chriss would play just 10 fewer games than the season before, yet he would drop in every major statistical category with the exception of rebounds. Considering that he wasn’t exactly the most efficient to begin, this wasn’t a good sign. But there was more bad news concerning Chriss.

The immaturity (even for a 20-year-old) was consistently troubling. The complaining and the disruption that Marquese (and others) brought was a problem, especially with a squad as young as the Suns were. Having one of your presumably top players acting in such a fashion is bound to cause a disturbance. The team as a whole was floundering with fellow disappointing picks in Dragan Bender and Josh Jackson, and Chriss’ pouting and reckless (and just frankly horrible) defensive play weren’t any better for Phoenix Suns fans to enjoy.

To make a long story short, Phoenix moved on from Chriss, trading him to the Rockets…who would trade him to the Cavs. He has now seemed to find a home with the Warriors, and while it is highly unlikely his play will justify his high selection in the years to come, it certainly seems as if he has found his role in the league (as well as some added maturity.) As crazy (and tiring) as it may be to say this, he is still only 23, and the chance for continued development is there.

That development just probably won’t be with the Phoenix Suns.

Happy 23rd Birthday Marquese!

Next. For the Phoenix Suns, Orlando should be about development. dark