Warriors

Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the last two weeks, Marquese Chriss has walked into Chase Center uncertain if he'd last in Golden State past training camp. 

Now, with a lack of frontcourt depth forcing Golden State to waive Alfonzo McKinnie, the team has made room for the former first-round pick. 

"I haven't heard anything officially," Chriss said Friday morning. "So just going into it like I have the past couple games and still trying to prove myself and trying to show that I belong here." 

Golden State's decision to choose Chriss comes as the Warriors are battling a thin frontcourt. On the eve of training camp, Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced big man Willie Cauley-Stein would miss most of October with a foot strain. Two days later, rookie Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle and Kevon Looney strained his hamstring in the same controlled scrimmage.

Adding to the peril, Spellman tweaked his back in the Warriors' first preseason game against the Lakers. As injuries mounted, Chriss -- who signed a non-guaranteed deal prior to training camp -- averaged 9.5 points, 8.3 rebounds in 22 minutes through four games. 

"It was kind of a perfect storm the way things happened. Obviously, I would never wish injury upon anybody," Chriss said.

Chriss' latest opportunity comes as the 22-year old is hoping to revitalize his career. He was drafted eighth overall by the Kings before being sent in a draft-night trade to the Phoenix Suns. He spent two seasons with the Suns, before playing stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, garnering some reported character concerns along the way. 

 

"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." 

However, in his short time in Golden State, Chriss has been a model teammate in the locker room, garnering the praise of forward Draymond Green, who came to Chriss' defense this week. 

"[People] always want to blame the kid," Green said following Wednesday's preseason loss to the Lakers. "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 gotten the opportunity to show what he can really do because it's a prime example. But no one will still blame any organization. It'll always be the kid's fault, and it will be the next kid that comes in's fault and the next kid after that. So I'm happy he's gotten this opportunity."

"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."

On Friday, Chriss expressed appreciation for Green's words. 

"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." 

As Chriss spoke Friday, Golden State's need for the 6-foot-10 big man was evident. A few feet from his media availability, Cauley Stein was just starting to get on-court work, while Looney -- who is hoping to play in the season opener Oct. 24 -- rehabbed on the other end of the court.

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With the opportunity, Chriss will once again have an opportunity to rectify his career. 

"When I came here I was just ready to compete and ready to try to work for a spot and I had no idea that this many people were actually hurt," he said. "But it happened the way it did and I'm just happy."