Warriors big man Marquese Chriss has been the talk of training camp, but he apparently caught the eye of comedian John Oliver -- or his writers room -- long before that.
On Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight" on HBO, Oliver recapped China's backlash against the NBA following Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's since-deleted tweet in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Oliver called China's uproar over Morey's tweet "absurd," before facetiously criticizing Morey for letting Chriss go in a trade last season.
"You wanna be angry at him, how about the fact he traded away power forward Marquese Chriss as part of a three-team deal with the Kings and Cavaliers back in February?" Oliver joked. "Chriss is [6-foot-10] with a 7-foot wingspan, plays way above the rim and can mix it up in the post. Yes, granted, he's had his issues on the Suns -- I'm not denying that. But he's the exact type of athletic big man that could have balanced out [Russell Westbrook and James Harden] especially when he's coming off the bench for P.J. Tucker.
"What I'm saying, Daryl, is your tweet about Hong Kong was totally fine -- nothing to apologize for there -- but when it comes to Marquese Chriss, you f----d up, Daryl!"
Oliver then quipped he wasn't "even a Rockets fan," but one of "competent midseason roster moves."
The Warriors signed Chriss to a non-guaranteed contract in September. The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has impressed his Golden State teammates and coaches, providing the Warriors size up front and rebounding -- two things they've lacked in the preseason with much of their frontcourt banged up.
During the segment, Oliver criticized the NBA for its handling of the aftermath of Morey's tweet, which Morey walked back and the league apologized for. Following the league's apology, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that Morey "enjoys that right [to freedom of speech] as one of our employees." Chinese state broadcaster CCTV did not show a pair of the league's preseason games played in China last week.
Oliver noted that "the NBA has put itself in a tight spot," but contended that the league would be unable to navigate out of it. In wrapping up the segment, he invoked Chriss once more.
"And the reality is here that the NBA can either have a commitment to free speech, or they can have guaranteed access to the Chinese market, but they cannot have both," Oliver argued. "This will not be the last time that they'll be forced to choose, and my fear is they'll trade one for the other -- which would be the worst trade since Daryl Morey shipped out Marquese Chriss."