The Los Angeles Lakers have had a successful history of drafting players late and developing them into good NBA role players.
The Lakers are hoping to find another second-round gem in Michigan State’s Max Christie, who was taken with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. With the draft pick acquisition being a surprise because of limited assets, the Lakers had a plan all along to get Christie and help start the roster building for next season.
In an interview with Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Lakers co-owner Jesse Buss, who is in charge of the franchise’s scouting department, revealed how he always had an eye out for Christie and believes he’s someone they can develop:
“Just him showing flashes of being a good perimeter shooter with his shooting mechanics and being able to create his own shot off the dribble,” Buss told The Athletic of Christie’s skill set. “A high-IQ player, obviously, with his size and his length, at the two guard position.”
During the Las Vegas Summer League, Christie averaged 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds with a remarkable 87 percent from the free-throw line. Christie put his ability to go beyond the 3-and-D label on display as many of his highlights came off plays in the paint and defensively in the pick-and-roll.
With his lengthy slender frame, the Lakers will look for him to be a good fit for head coach Darvin Ham’s defensive system in defending the pick-and-roll and staying home on perimeter shooters. Christie’s athleticism is something that stood out to Buss and the rest of the front office:
“A sneaky, good athlete,” Buss said. “He was one of the best wing players vertically at the combine. Which, I think, (surprises) a lot of people from watching his game, because he’s pretty smooth and he’s not gonna really impose his athleticism all the time. But it’s there. You wouldn’t know it until you look at the numbers really.”
The Lakers believe that all the tools are there for Christie to emerge as the talent they imagine him to be. It is still unknown how he will be incorporated into this season’s rotation, but by continuing to improve his game, especially out on the perimeter, Ham could consider calling his number to provide solid minutes for the Purple and Gold.
Christie Is Confident That 3-Point Shooting Will Improve
When the Lakers selected Christie with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, they were confident in taking a young player who fit one of the primary team needs of perimeter shooting and defending.
Now signing Christie to a two-year deal, the belief is there from the Lakers front office to develop a fundamentally-sound player like the 6-foot-5-inch guard. Mechanically, Christie looks like an NBA veteran when he shoots the ball.
However, his pro-like shooting form has not yet translated to his 3-point shooting efficiencies, where he shot below 30 percent from deep during the Summer League. Despite these numbers, Christie is still confident that his perimeter shooting will come around eventually.
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