Warriors' Marquese Chriss stays positive despite losing playing time


HOUSTON -- Marquese Chriss' career with the Warriors has seen a bit of everything. 

In the last month, he's ascended from training camp invitee to expected contributor on the Warriors' battered frontcourt. For the last week, his role has evolved into an occasional cheerleader as his minutes have dwindled. 

"I think I'm just blessed to be in the situation that I am," Chriss said.

Despite the optimism, Chriss' play has sputtered in recent weeks while his playing time started to dwindle. He's averaging just 3.0 points per game in the Warriors' last five games. In Saturday's loss to Charlotte, he missed both of his shots, finishing minus-9 from the floor in a game Golden State lost by six.

The Warriors are minus-36 this season when Chriss is on the floor this season. His poor play has supplanted him for fellow big man Omari Spellman. 

"I don't let that stuff get to me, I don't take it personally, no ego in a situation like this," Chriss said. "I understand that minutes are scarce for me and somebody in my position right now. So I just try to get in where I fit in and when I get in try to play with energy and try to contribute as much as I can."

The 22-year old is hoping to revitalize his career with the Warriors. Following a successful freshman season at the University of Washington, he was selected No. 8 overall by the Kings in the 2016 NBA Draft before being traded to the Suns in a draft-night swap. 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 last month. "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." 

Golden State's decision to sign Chriss came as the Warriors were 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. 

As injuries mounted, Chriss -- who signed a non-guaranteed contract prior to training camp -- averaged 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 22 minutes through four preseason games. By the eve of the season, he had earned a roster spot, forcing Golden State to part ways with forward Alfonzo McKinnie.

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Now as the season wears on, Chriss will use the same mindset whether he's getting consistent minutes or not. 

"I'm just trying to make the most out of it," he said. "Whether it's being a great teammate and sitting on the bench and cheering my teammates on, or it's being on the court trying to contribute as best as I can." 

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