Lakers News: Max Christie Credits Michigan State For Helping Him Develop Rebounding Skills
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Max Christie earlier this year, hoping the Michigan State alum can turn into an impactful 3-and-D wing.

Despite his slender frame, the Lakers hope the 6-foot-6 guard will develop into a defensive leader, capable of covering multiple positions and taking on the most challenging assignments. And Christie showed potential on the defensive side of the floor during the Las Vegas Summer League, using his long arms to contest shots and largely staying in front of his opponents.

Also, the 19-year-old made a difference on the glass, averaging 4.4 rebounds in five Summer League games. Christie told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha he hopes to help the Lakers crash the boards — something he excelled at in high school and further developed in college at Michigan State:

“I think Michigan State really helped me with that, actually, the rebounding aspect,” Christie said. “I may not have gotten too many rebounds at Michigan State, but in these games, it’s just a little bit different. It’s wider space, it’s a bigger floor, more opportunities to find seams to get the rebound. So, I think that’s something that’s culminated over time, and now I can show it right here.”

Explaining the rationale behind selecting Christie at No. 35, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said the Michigan State alum was “a consensus pick” among the team’s scouts on draft night in June.

Co-owner Jesse Buss, who heads the scouting department, added Christie’s verticality impressed compared to other wing players at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Buss also said the Lakers admire the rookie’s high basketball IQ in addition to his physique.

Christie confident his shot will improve

While Christie showcased his defensive skillset in Vegas, he struggled to shoot the ball — particularly from beyond the arc. The guard averaged 8.2 points per game but made only 22.2% of his 3-point attempts.

However, Christie is confident his aim will improve with time. “I know I’m a good 3-point shooter,” he said. “It’s just not happening right now.”

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