NBA Draft 2022: What Lakers are getting in Max Christie

By John Fanta
FOX Sports activities Faculty Basketball Author

For the primary time since some man named Magic Johnson again in 1979, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted a Michigan State Spartan.

L.A. traded into the draft final Thursday, sending a future second-round choose and money to Orlando for the No. 35 choose. They used it to pick Max Christie.

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Simply the fourth one-and-done participant in Spartans program historical past, Christie was regarded as a possible lottery choose within the 2023 draft had he determined to return for his sophomore season, making the 19-year-old a doubtlessly precious choice by Rob Pelinka and his workforce. That stated, Christie may need a few years to develop, making him a curious match for a corporation that’s making an attempt to win now and to get youthful round LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

There’s no query that Christie is a challenge, however he presents upside nearer to being a first-round expertise due to his 6-foot-6 measurement, robust taking pictures mechanics and succesful protection. Christie is admittedly lengthy, presenting a 6-foot-9 wingspan and an 8-foot-7 standing attain. 

The Lakers’ entrance workplace, which was in uncommon full consensus on deciding on Christie, is betting that he’ll construct up power in his physique and that the sport will decelerate for him. There’s a perception that Christie’s 38% mark from the sector and 31% clip from 3 at Michigan State isn’t a real indicator of his taking pictures capacity.

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Tom Izzo on Max Christie changing into a whole participant

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talked about Max Christie’s development as a whole participant final season.

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Corridor of Fame Spartans coach Tom Izzo strengthened all through this previous season how nice a defender Christie is and stated he introduced intangibles past his years. The Chicago child’s efforts on the defensive finish of the ground led the previous McDonald’s All-American to garner All-Large Ten Freshman Crew honors.

Pelinka’s mindset? He didn’t need to choose a veteran school participant who has already hit his ceiling. 

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“I feel the unsuitable factor to do within the draft is to simply say, ‘We need to get this guy who can play for us right now.’ That’s when you can also make large errors,” stated the Lakers’ vp of basketball operations. “We needed to take the participant that we thought may assist our workforce within the present, current time however actually become one thing particular. We expect Max Christie has that DNA.”

The event of Christie comes down to 1 predominant factor: physicality. You may’t look too far into his numbers from his freshman season: 9.3 factors, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per sport. As one scout stated, “his taking pictures stroke and athleticism are so easy.” The offensive ability set is current.  

The place expertise evaluators are very conflicted is his lack of bodily and psychological maturity.  

“I get the thought of him as a 6-foot-6 shooter with high-level really feel, however the lack of bodily and psychological toughness could possibly be an excessive amount of for him to beat,” stated one scout who supplied his nameless opinion of Christie.  

Pelinka and the Lakers see it in a different way.  

“After we plug him into Darvin Ham and Chris Jent, the developmental coaches we’re going to have, he’s going to show into a extremely good shooter,” stated Pelinka. “He’s obtained lovely contact on the ball, nice arch and rotation on his shot. He’s a twitchy athlete with a extremely distinctive floater sport, can end across the basket and will get into the paint.” 

L.A. hopes that Christie can undergo an analogous developmental rise that the group’s seen in 2019 second-round draft choose Talen Horton-Tucker, who signed a three-year, $32 million deal within the 2021 offseason.

Endurance will probably be wanted for Christie, however the potential is there for him to be a 3-and-D wing within the NBA. Count on him to be with the South Bay Lakers subsequent season, because the group’s improvement workers goals to construct up his physique for the NBA stage.

John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Area of 68 Media Community. Comply with him on Twitter @John_Fanta.


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