The Los Angeles Lakers acquiring the No. 35 overall pick from the Orlando Magic set the tone for the chess-like moves vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka would make during the 2022 NBA Draft.
Without expecting a rookie to be added to the Lakers during the draft process, the surprising decision to draft Michigan State’s Max Christie gave Laker faithful the nod that the team is looking for every possible way to bring youth and newness to the roster despite salary cap and asset limitations.
Every draftee’s life was changed during Thursday night’s draft. For Christie, it now means entering the dream that has been worked on for so long by maximizing every opportunity in the lengthy process of getting in the NBA.
“It feels really, really good just to have my dream come true,” Christie said. “I’m really living my dream, so it feels really, really good. That’s the only thing I can sum up. I have a lot of emotions right now.”
Getting the chance to live the NBA dream is slim, but being drafted by a historic franchise is even slimmer.
The 6-foot-5-inch guard now gets to play for one of the most well-known franchises in the 17-time champion Lakers, and even gets to team up with some of the leagues most well-known players in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“It’s amazing. It’s surreal. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony — the list goes on. A bunch of great names, a bunch of great players on the Lakers team. I think I can learn a lot and get a lot better in that organization.”
The amount of development and knowledge Christie will gain as a 19-year-old from the Lakers’ veterans is abundant. As a player who prides his game on being fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor, The 3-and-D rookie will work to enhance his game both long-term and short-term, as the plans for him to contribute right away remain.
The all-around scorer who averaged 9.3 points and shot 82.4% from the charity stripe at Michigan State will continue to need to find ways to translate his offensive proweis to the pros. What better way to answer that question than learning from the NBA’s ninth all-time leading scorer in Carmelo Anthony.
“I think Carmelo Anthony is a pretty good example, someone I can pick his brain,” Christie said. “He’s one of the greatest scorers of all time. I know he’s a great player historically and he’s a great player now, so he’s someone I’ll be looking to, for sure.”
A willingness to learn and grow as a player for the purple and gold is a winning attitude that attributes to the dignity of the Lakers.
The Lakers have a great track record of finding hidden gems sprinkled in the draft and Summer League. Now Lakers fans can hope that Christie follows suit as the next guy in line to be an excellent turnout.
Shareef O’Neal added to Lakers Summer League roster
The 2022 NBA Draft Class has been widely regarded as a deep group that features promising young talent in the second round, and in the undrafted free agent market. For the Lakers, they hit big in the second-round drafting Christie.
Now, they are continuing to swing for home runs by acquiring the best undrafted players available for the Summer League.
Shareef O’ Neal, son of Lakers legendary big man Shaquille O’ Neal, is among those that have accepted the offer to play for the Lakers in the Summer League.
One of the noteworthy Summer League signings for the team so far, O’Neal has an opportunity to cultivate his skills that he did not show much of in college due to heart and foot issues.
O’Neal previously worked out with the Lakers during the pre-draft process and made it clear that he feels no pressure heading into the NBA. After an underwhelming statistical year last season at LSU, the 6-foot-10-inch big man looks to show progress during the Summer League to advance his NBA dream.
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