At the start of the season, many people were looking at second-year guard Max Christie to break out for the Los Angeles Lakers, much like Austin Reaves did a year ago. But Christie found himself outside of the rotation to start the year as Cam Reddish got those minutes.
However, an injury to Reddish, as well as the ongoing absences of Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt, has not only thrust Christie into the rotation, but a starting role and he has stepped up in this opportunity. His performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers stood out particularly as he finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists while doing an excellent job defending All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.
After the game, Reaves had nothing but praise for Christie, calling him a professional and noting how he’s able to step up in these moments because he always stays ready, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“One thing about Max is, I know he’s young, 21 or however old he is, but he’s a professional. He’s been a professional since the day he got here. He always works on his craft, he’s ready, he’s a great kid and that right there speaks to itself.
“Whenever he has the opportunity to make an imprint on the game he does, just because he’s always ready. He never takes shortcuts and, I think he went 5-for-7 tonight, shot the ball well and obviously guarded their best player for the majority of the game. So you tip your hat to him because you want to see him be successful because, like I said, all those things that I said he’s a professional, he’s a good kid and works really hard.”
Christie’s work ethic is paying off and the guard looks much more confident than he did as a rookie. He showed signs of his improvement during Summer League and this game against Cleveland showed the kind of impact he can have as a two-way player.
As Reaves said, everyone wants to see Christie succeed because of the work he puts in and at the moment, he is stepping up when the Lakers need him most.
Lakers’ Anthony Davis, LeBron James praise Max Christie’s defense on Donovan Mitchell
Reaves wasn’t the only person with positive things to say about Christie as both LeBron James and Anthony Davis praised the young guard as well, especially for his defensive efforts against Mitchell.
The Cavaliers All-Star shot just 4-of-18 from the field and both LeBron and Davis credited Christie for taking on that challenge of defending him, especially down the stretch, and forcing him into tough shots without fouling.
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