Summer League Highlights: Max Christie Shines Offensively For Lakers To Kick Off California Classic Against Heat

Just a couple of weeks after the 2023 NBA Draft, basketball is back for the league as four teams got the chance to appear in the annual California Classic held in Sacramento.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been participants in the event since its inception, using the extra couple of games to evaluate their young players and give them more reps ahead of the new year. This year is no different as Los Angeles kicked off the festivities against the Miami Heat, where they unfortunately lost 107-90.

Entering his second year with the Lakers, all eyes were on Max Christie as he looked to prove he deserves a spot in Darvin Ham’s rotation during the 2023-24 season. There are high hopes for Christie as he is expected to take a leap with all the work he’s been doing, following the path of players like Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves.

So far, the early signs are encouraging as he looked every bit of the star for Los Angeles’ Summer League roster. The two-way guard looked comfortable playing both on and off the ball and showed more confidence taking shots in their half court sets.

Christie would finish the afternoon with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-3 from downtown and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

While Christie was expected to excel, there was anticipation for the debut of Jalen Hood-Schifino, the Lakers’ first-round pick from the draft. Hood-Schifino expectedly drew the start and looked shaky at first, struggling to find a groove scoring the basketball.

However, the Indiana product had a much better second half as he displayed some of the scoring chops that made him an intriguing prospect. Hood-Schifino ultimately finished with a dismal 6-of-19 shooting performance as well as failing to hit any of his five 3-point attempts. He did chip in with five rebounds, four assists and a steal though.

One of the team’s bright spots was Colin Castleton whom the Lakers signed to a two-way deal shortly before tip-off. Castleton came off the bench for his professional debut and impressed with his soft touch around the rim and his defensive awareness.

Castleton shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor for 11 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a block in under 16 minutes.

What’s next for Lakers

The Lakers wrap up the California Classic on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs before flying out for Las Vegas Summer League where they’ll take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

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