Los Angeles Lakers guard Max Christie recently got his first NBA start, turning in a solid performance against the Denver Nuggets.
With recent injuries to Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr., Christie has seen his minutes extended.
Christie’s spent most of the season with the Lakers’ G League team the South Bay Lakers. As a result, his development is on an upward trend and physically he looks much different now than in preseason games. His 3-point shooting, 43.9% on 1.8 attempts per game, is promising for 3-and-D potential. It seems like Christie improves each time he plays a game with the Lakers.
He’s also picking at the brains of his teammates, none more than LeBron James. Christie revealed he’s been studying James’ routines, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
“Everything he does from after the game in the locker room to before the game, how he gets ready for games,” Christie told The Athletic. “I mean, I’ve observed everything, and I’m trying to use everything that he’s been doing and putting it in my repertoire.”
There aren’t many athletes that are better to replicate than LeBron, who is one of the best at taking care of his body and staying consistent. Christie said that at first, he didn’t feel a difference, but over time the benefits have risen to the surface.
Making sure he takes care of his body has been a major difference between college and the NBA. The college schedule is less grueling as the season starts in November and ends in March. The NBA begins a month before and ends at least a month after. Add in travel and games every other day, and it can take some time to adjust.
After hitting a wall during his freshman year at Michigan State, Christie is doing the little things to avoid that this season:
“I didn’t take recovery, rest,” Christie said of his college days. “There’s a whole bunch of different things that I’m really being proactive with that I wasn’t proactive with at all last year. And that definitely showed. And so now I’ve learned from last year, coming into this year, and making sure that I’m taking the steps to make sure I’m really healthy and I don’t run into that wall.
“And if I do hit that wall, it’s not going to be like a brick wall. It might be a much softer wall that I can break through.”
It seems like Christie is breaking through the Lakers rotation and making his case for head coach Darvin Ham. With Reaves and Walker expected to be out at least for another week, Christie could make a deeper dent in the roster.
Russell Westbrook believes the Lakers are establishing a culture
Winners of five of their last six games, the Lakers are trending in the right direction on the court. Injuries have piled up though L.A. is still competing in games, a testament to the culture in the locker room.
Russell Westbrook credited that culture as a reason for the Lakers still succeeding without key players.
“It definitely does. If you create a culture, create a way we’re supposed to play, the next guy just kind of gets in line. Or he should, at least,” he said. “And I think that’s something we’re trying to, and are kind of, establishing. I think that’s why we’re giving ourselves a chance to win games regardless of who’s playing, and I think that’s the best part about it.”
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