Lakers News: Max Christie Sets Goal Of Making Regular Season Rotation Amid Summer League Breakout
Max Christie, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the focus on the Los Angeles Lakers has been aimed toward what they accomplished in free agency in terms of bringing back key players and making very good additions on new players. But while that is happening, second-year guard Max Christie has been turning heads in Summer League.

Even though the Lakers were unable to get a win at the California Classic, Christie has looked like a player ready to take a leap next season. That was again confirmed on Friday night when he led L.A. to a win over the Golden State Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League opener.

Christie has looked far more confident and aggressive overall, has shown improved ball-handling when attacking the basket, and his jump shot has been as smooth as ever.

At this rate, Christie looks like someone who will be able to carve out a role in head coach Darvin Ham’s rotation in the upcoming season, which is a goal he has set for himself.

“Really just to be in the rotation,” Christie said after the win over the Warriors. “At the end of the day, I want to play as much basketball as I can and last year was a little motivation to get me to that spot. And that’s all it really is. That’s my mission, that’s my goal.”

Christie had all the tools coming out of Michigan State, which is why the Lakers traded into the draft to select him. He showed flashes when injuries forced him into action last season and now things seem to be coming together for him after a year of non-stop hard work.

“I don’t think anything has happened by accident. I try to put in the work, I’ve tried to stay focused as much as I can. But at the same time, still trying to enjoy myself and be grateful for where I’m at. Especially this summer though, I have a mission and I have a goal and I’m really focused on that goal so I think it’s playing out the way it should.”

He shot 6-of-11 from the field to finish with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Lakers’ first Summer League contest, and followed that up with 25 points, four rebounds, and four assists in their second game at the California Classic while shooting 7-of-13 from the field, 4-of-5 from deep and 7-of-8 from the free throw line.

Christie’s strong play continued on Friday when he had 22 points, seven rounds and two assists, electrifying the crowd with a thunderous poster dunk at the end of the second quarter.

Malik Beasley, Lonnie Walker IV, and Troy Brown Jr. are all gone, but the Lakers also brought in Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish in free agency so there will be competition for those wing minutes. But Christie is showing he is ready to be on the court and he will definitely be someone to watch moving forward.

Lakers’ Max Christie pleased to show on-ball improvements in Summer League

The ideal role envisioned for Christie is as a 3-and-D wing who can knock down shots off the catch and defend at a high level. But he has been working to improve other facets of his game as well, most notably his dribbling.

Following the Lakers’ first game at the California Classic, Christie pointed to his on-ball skills as something he has been working very hard to improve this offseason and is excited to show off throughout the rest of Summer League.

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