Lakers News: Rob Pelinka Expects Max Christie To Be A ‘Force’ In Training Camp Fighting For Rotation Spot
Max Christie, Lakers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers guard Max Christie has continued to turn heads and prove his case for being a rotation player going into next season. Christie only averaged 12.5 minutes per game last season but he did showcase some of his 3-point shooting and defensive upside.

The former Michigan State Spartan was the 35th pick of the second round in the 2022 NBA Draft and bounced around from the South Bay Lakers and the Lakers to get him some in-game experience and reps as a player during his rookie season. However, it seems the Lakers’ scouting department has found another late-round prospect in Christie.

It seems that Christie is taking advantage of Summer League showing months before training camp that he should be a part of the rotation next season and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has noticed the work he’s been putting in, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

“Max has been incredibly locked in — mostly in the weight room with his body,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said. “And I think you can see he’s added 10 pounds of muscle where he now when he gets by a shoulder by a guy, he’s a problem. And defensively he’s busting through screens and I think has a chance to be an elite defender. … I think Max is going to be he’s going to be a force in training camp in terms of fighting for minutes in Darvin’s rotation.”

Christie has showcased every aspect of his game and even gave fans a highlight dunk in a game against the Golden State Warriors. He has been sharing ball-handling duties with this year’s No. 17 pick, Jalen Hood-Schifino, but seems to be confident in adding that new wrinkle to his game.

Laker fans have taken note of Christie’s development and have rewarded him with some MVP chants, adding to his surreal performance thus far. It’s worth noting that he is still only 20 years old and is already making noticeable strides from year one to two, so fans can hope that there is more potential to tap into moving forward.

Throughout the Summer League, both Las Vegas and Sacramento, Christie has averaged 19.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.8 blocks while shooting 49.2% from the field, 55% from 3 and 96.8% from the free-throw line.

The Lakers’ next game is Friday at 8 p.m. against the Memphis Grizzlies, although Christie likely won’t playing in it after suffering a right hip strain. The injury likely isn’t serious but could shut Christie down for the rest of the summer considering he has already shown everything he can.

Lakers suffer first Las Vegas Summer League losses

Christie had another great performance on Wednesday night with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists on 7-14 shooting with two threes. However, the Lakers squad went cold in the second half, getting outscored 52-37 and losing their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League against the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers then lost again on Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies in blowout fashion, although Christie did not play due to a hip issue.

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