Marquese Chriss joined the Warriors over a week ago on a non-guaranteed contract.
But if the former lottery pick keeps playing like he did on Saturday night against the Lakers, Golden State's front office might be forced to give him a guaranteed deal.
Chriss registered eight points, six rebounds and four assists in 14 minutes off the bench, before fouling out.
"He's been really impressive," coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the Dubs' 123-101 preseason loss. "It's impossible right now to figure out what's what with our injury situation and our cap situation. I'm happy to be coaching and not being a GM because there's a lot of minutiae in the CBA and I'm not exactly sure how it all plays out.
"But I do know that Marquese has had a good week. He fouled out in short minutes tonight but he's shown a lot of athleticism and he's a great kid. He still wants to learn and is asking questions, and I think the players like playing with him.
"He's pretty good in high screen-and-roll, running dribble handoffs. He knows what he's doing so I think he's a really intriguing prospect."
But adding Chriss to the team would not be simple. The Warriors have an open roster spot, but currently can't give it to Chriss because they are "hard-capped" under CBA rules. So to add him to the roster, they would need to either cut Alfonzo McKinnie (whose contract doesn't become guaranteed until January), cut Ky Bowman and give Chriss a two-way contract, or trade somebody without taking anybody back in return.
It's a fluid situation and management is assessing its options.
As for his production against the Lakers -- here is an example for why Kerr said Chriss knows what he's doing:
This is great stuff from Marquese Chriss — he puts it on the deck which forces Davis to commit, makes the nice pass to the corner, and then makes himself available for the lob from Draymond pic.twitter.com/gx4b93tTnf— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 7, 2019
It's no wonder Draymond Green gave high praise to Chriss after the game.
“I think he played great. I think he’s been great all training camp. 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."
When you're fighting for a job, it can't hurt to get this kind of endorsement from a three-time NBA champion.
Here are a few other highlights from Chriss' performance:
Marquese Chriss just played hard on Saturday night and made his presence felt. He was decisive and moved with a purpose — set the screen, roll hard, crash the glass, get rewarded pic.twitter.com/DERTAnQVgM— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 7, 2019
Marquese Chriss did a nice job stepping up to contest Caruso in the midrange, and then runs the floor for the easy layup pic.twitter.com/xTIzJjPWNj— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 7, 2019
Marquese Chriss got whistled for a moving screen (weak call) which negated the bucket, but you gotta love the between the legs bounce pass a la Zaza Pachulia and Jordan Bell pic.twitter.com/riLoY0bZJK— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 7, 2019
A lot can change between now and Opening Night against the Clippers on Oct. 24, but it's quite apparent that the Warriors have some issues in the frontcourt.
Willie Cauley-Stein (left foot strain) will be sidelined for all of training camp and is expected to miss the first couple of regular-season games, Kevon Looney (hamstring) didn't play in the exhibition opener, and rookie Alen Smailagic (ankle) is out for the "foreseeable future."
Chriss entered the NBA as the eighth overall selection by the Suns in the 2016 NBA Draft, and was named All-Rookie Second Team. But he was traded to Houston in August 2018 and then shipped to Cleveland in February.
The Sacramento native is just 22 years old and is hoping to resurrect his career. Will he get that chance with the Warriors? We will find out in the coming weeks.