Lakers News: Darvin Ham Praises Max Christie’s Leadership During Summer League
(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

Although Max Christie was forced to miss the penultimate Las Vegas Summer League game against the Memphis Grizzlies, he showed the Los Angeles Lakers that he’s ready for a bigger role in the 2023-24 season.

Christie’s made the second-year leap typical of young players, leading the Lakers to a 2-1 record in Las Vegas Summer League before sitting out. In five games, Christie displayed a new level of ball-handling, shotmaking and playmaking that should lead to some rotation minutes.

While the on-court production was encouraging to see, Darvin Ham was just as impressed with how Christie assumed the responsibility of being the Lakers’ leader in Summer League play, via ‘#thisleague UNCUT’ with Chris Haynes and Marc Stein:

“It’s been beautiful to watch. And one of our young kids, we’re really, really excited about, Max Christie going into his second year in the league. I told him he needs to step up and show his leadership abilities, and he’s done that along with Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, Colin Castleton, D’Moi Hodge—we got Cole Swider. We have some really good players under our umbrella that people are getting a chance to see, and they’re playing the right way.”

With so many inexperienced rookies on the Summer League team, Christie was naturally thrust into a leadership role but he thrived as the team’s undisputed alpha. Christie could be seen encouraging his teammates and talking to them on the bench, moments that indicate his maturity as a player and person.

Christie will obviously have a much lesser role on the main team when the season rolls around, but it’s clear that he’s grown in a variety of ways during the offseason. Ham and the coaching staff have to be pleased with how Christie’s conducted himself and it’ll be exciting to see what he can do when he gets a legitimate shot to contribute.

Darvin Ham says 10 teams who passed on him messed up

Ham was a popular head coaching candidate during the last hiring cycle this past summer due to his championship pedigree as a player and assistant coach. Ham met with a third of the league in recent years before ultimately landing with Los Angeles on a four-year contract.

Ham was able to lead the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals in his first year as head coach, a massive accomplishment considering how the team started the season. After seeing so much success in such a short amount of time, Ham had no problem firing shots at the teams that passed on him.

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