On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers announced rookie Max Christie entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The news comes ahead of their Friday night game against the Detroit Pistons.
Per the NBA’s guidelines, players are not required to undergo regular testing for the 2022-23 season but there are instances when they must be checked for coronavirus (COVID-19).
For example, testing must occur when players are experiencing any symptoms or when household members have tested positive for COVID-19. A player being placed in health and safety protocols doesn’t necessarily mean they have tested positive.
Christie had begun to turn a corner in his young NBA career as he began to earn more minutes under head coach Darvin Ham. With the Lakers floundering near the bottom of the standings, Ham turned to the rookie for an injection of production and he has so far modestly delivered.
An injury to LeBron James and underwhelming performances from players like Kendrick Nunn and Juan Toscano-Anderson have opened up the door for Christie, who now unfortunately must wait until he is cleared to return to the court. At 6’5″ with a long wingspan, Christie has shown real flashes as a defender and his 3-point shot has improved since the summer.
Perhaps it’s an indictment on the roster construction that Los Angeles is being forced to turn to someone like Christie for meaningful shifts, but at least he is producing on the floor. Although his raw counting stats don’t jump off the page, the Lakers clearly have something in the 19-year-old.
For the time being, it looks like Ham will need to find another spark off the bench whether that’s Nunn, Toscano-Anderson or another player. L.A. should hopefully be getting James back on the court soon enough, but as always the team will need to make due with the players they have available.
Max Christie doesn’t feel pressure about rotation opportunity
For someone so young, Christie has impressed the organization with his maturity and self-awareness. It’s no surprise, then, to hear him say he isn’t feeling any pressure about his opportunity in the rotation despite his lack of experience.
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