With the Los Angeles Lakers searching for any answers during their slow start to the season, head coach Darvin Ham turned to second-round rookie Max Christie and surprisingly, he looked extremely comfortable when being inserted into the rotation.
While his offense still needs some work, Christie competes extremely hard on defense and has done excellent work on the glass as well. Unfortunately for Christie, just as he was beginning to carve out a role for himself, he was sidelined due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and placed in league protocols.
But Christie is now set to rejoin the team as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that he has cleared protocols and will travel to San Antonio for the Lakers’ matchup Friday night with the Spurs:
ESPN Sources: Lakers guard Max Christie has cleared Covid protocols and is traveling to San Antonio to rejoin the team. Christie, who had been in protocols for a week, is expected to be available to play vs. the Spurs on Friday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2022
The Lakers are a team that is very small on the perimeter and Christie is one of the few options on the wing with some legit size to guard some of the bigger perimeter players the league has to offer. It will be interesting to see if he keeps his spot in the rotation considering the Lakers will be back at full strength.
LeBron James is expected to make his return on Friday in San Antonio and the team also recently welcomed back Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant from injury. Ham now has some decisions to make regarding the rotation as the team has multiple players who bring something different to the table.
Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV are entrenched in their spots in the rotation, but it seems wide open after that. Christie, Troy Brown Jr., Schroder, Kendrick Nunn and Wenyen Gabriel will all get consideration, and if Bryant continues to play well, that could have an impact as well since that could allow Ham to play Anthony Davis at the forward spot more.
Whether or not he is in the rotation, it is great for Christie to be around the team and continuing to grow and develop as he has already this season.
LeBron James expected to return for Lakers Friday vs. Spurs
Of course while Christie returning is nice, the Lakers are greatly looking forward to the return of superstar LeBron James who is also expected to return to the court on Friday against the Spurs.
James has missed the last five games due to a strained adductor and the Lakers made sure to take their time in his return so as to not potentially aggravate it any further.
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