The Los Angeles Lakers opened up preseason play on Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors and although they suffered a loss, there were some positives to take away.
One of them was the play of second-year guard Max Christie, who is coming off a stellar Summer League performance and looking to earn a spot in the Lakers’ rotation.
Christie was one of the first players to come off the bench for Darvin Ham against the Warriors and in 25 minutes, he led the team with 15 points to go along with two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
It’s clear that Christie has expanded his game offensively since being drafted, but perhaps his biggest improvement has been on the defensive end of the floor.
Christie has gained 15 pounds of muscle over the last year, allowing him to compete on the defensive end regardless of if he is guarding wings or guards. After the loss to the Warriors, Christie spoke about how confident he is on that end of the floor, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Defensively, I’m willing to take up any assignment that the coaching staff assigns me. So I’m comfortable guarding 1-4 and in a rare instance that they want me to guard a 5, I feel like I can do that as well and hold my own as well. So defensively is definitely an area that I’m focusing on, especially after getting in the weight room and putting on some muscle, I want to use that to my advantage on the defensive end of the floor. So whatever assignment they need me to take, I’m willing to take it for sure.”
While Christie is fighting for a rotation spot, he didn’t feel pressure while he was out on the floor which he attributed to his hard work and preparation:
“It felt good. I feel more relaxed certainly, for sure. When I focus on the controllables, then I just feel better. When you focus on the things you can’t control, then things can go sideways. So I just felt really comfortable out there, felt like I prepared well for this game in training camp and leading up to today as well so I had the utmost confidence in myself just to be able to go out there and play my game so it was fun.”
It’s still very early in training camp or the preseason, but with the way Christie has looked, he has to be the favorite to earn that fourth guard spot in the rotation behind D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Gabe Vincent.
Davis praises Christie after strong preseason opener
Christie’s play has gotten the attention of his teammates and coaches with Anthony Davis being the latest to praise him after the preseason opener against the Warriors.
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