ESPN writer: Chriss and Bender disappointed in Summer League

Jul 19, 2017, 6:20 AM
An official (133) gets between Houston Rockets' Troy Williams, left, and Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chr...
An official (133) gets between Houston Rockets' Troy Williams, left, and Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chriss, center, during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)

The Summer League is mainly built for rookies and young guys fighting for a chance to be on a NBA roster. So when two sophomore lottery picks come to play, they are expected to dominate.

The Suns’ Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender did not exactly dominate in their five games in Vegas this year.

Chriss averaged 14.4 points, six rebounds and one assist per game while tallying up 22 fouls in his first three games alone.

Bender just about matched Chriss production, putting up 14.2 points, six rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while committing 21 fouls in his first three games.

Those stats contributed to Tim MacMahon of designating Bender and Chiss as the biggest disappointments at Summer League.

The Phoenix Suns’ sophomore lottery picks. Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss both shot worse than 40 percent from the floor and didn’t exactly dominate the glass (each averaged 6.0 rebounds per game) as Phoenix went 2-4. That isn’t exactly reason to believe that the Suns’ rebuilding project can be fast-tracked.

During last year’s regular season, Chriss moved into the starting rotation early in the season averaging 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds a game.

Bender on the other hand, was sidelined with an ankle injury and played in only 43 games while putting up 3.4 points and 2.4 rebound per game.

The Summer League was supposed to be their time to shine and although they didn’t take any major strides forward, they showed some improvement.

Chriss seemed to have gained some weight in the offseason, helping him against bigger opponents the post, while Bender showcased his skill off the dribble.

Both guys are still under 21 and will continue to improve, and after all, it’s only Summer League. Not everyone saw the Suns’ sophomores as negatives.

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ESPN writer: Chriss and Bender disappointed in Summer League