There is no time to waste for the Los Angeles Lakers to start developing their new rookie from Michigan State in Max Christie.
Christie will be looking to advance his NBA dream by making an impact at the guard and forward position with the team during the upcoming Summer League.
While the Lakers may be focused on filling out the roster and Darvin Ham’s coaching staff for the 2022-23 season, Christie and the rest of the Summer League squad are looking to improve on their game before the regular-season gets underway.
After his first NBA Summer League practice, Christie was asked about what he needs to work on this summer.
“I think one of the biggest things is getting my body right,” Christie said. “And just the biggest goal for me is just to learn as much as I can coming onto a team with four or five Hall of Famers, let alone a bunch of veterans, even from the G League team, guys that have been there before. I’m sort of the new kid on the block so I’m just trying to soak it all in and become friends and have good relationships with everybody and just like I said, soak it all in.”
The 6-foot-6-inch guard was rumored to be a projected draft lottery pick had he stayed another year in college. Putting up 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds is a start for the perimeter-oriented rookie, but the efficiency from the 3-point line will be a point of emphasis for self-improvement.
Heading into the draft, the Lakers’ focus on acquiring youth and 3-and-D role players to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with paid off as the Lakers struck gold with a player who fits all the teams’ needs and more according to his strengths and weaknesses.
“My biggest strength is my shooting and defense,” Christie said. “Improvements, I think just, like I said, my size may be a little bit of a factor in my deficiencies. I’m tall, but I’m not necessarily very big, especially as I transition to a man’s league, that may be a little bit of something that I need to work on for sure.”
Recognizing ones’ weakness can turn out to be ones’ greatest strength. For Christie, the work to put into his game has barely started, and the answers he has about his play are nothing short of humble.
All eyes will be on how Christie debuts in the Summer League with professional competition. With him and other promising prospects, the Lakers look to stir up a young core that can both support James and Davis now, and be a cornerstone piece in the post-LeBron era.
Christie looking to model game after Booker and Tatum
Coming into the NBA, a rookie will want to pattern their game after somebody in order to correctly fit in the modern NBA. It is different than admiring a hero, because who the player emulates their game after is a resemblance of who they are as a player.
With Christie being regarded as a fundamentally-sound basketball player, who he studies and picks ideas from to add to his game are from two of the most fundamental-oriented players in the league – Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker.
“Two people specifically, Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum. I sort of try to take pieces their game and try to emulate it into mine. I think that will come with time, the more I keep studying, I think it will just come naturally. Those two guys are obviously at superstar level and obviously that won’t happen right away, especially when we have four or five Hall of Famers. So I’m just trying to find little pieces that I can take from Jayson Tatum and Book.”
The play style both Booker and Tatum share are that of Christie’s 3-and-D specialty. Reaching Booker and Tatum’s heights will be challenging, but with a good head on his shoulders, consistent work-ethic and constant studying, Lakers fans might sure find Christie to one day be like those NBA all-stars.
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