LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers believe Max Christie will be a valuable player in the NBA.
The Lakers picked the Michigan State guard as the 35th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. On two-way agreements, the team reached an agreement with Scotty Pippen Jr. from Vanderbilt as well as Cole Swider from Syracuse.
The Lakers had not drafted an Michigan State player since Magic Johnson. However, general manager Rob Pelinka stated that Christie was the unanimous pick among front office personnel and the scouting team when the new acquisition from Los Angeles came up.
A 6-foot-6 shooter, Christie was a wing defender and left East Lansing in the midst of his first season. After he is familiar with the Lakers’ system, the Lakers expect him to develop into a player worthy of higher selection.
“He can pick-and roll guard and handle the ball,” Pelinka stated. He has a great shooting stroke. I think when we plug him into Darvin (Ham) and (top assistant) Chris Jent and the developmental coaches that we’re going to have, I really think he’s going to turn into a really good shooter.”
Christie averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 assists last year as a freshman with the Spartans. He’s now a teammate of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the 19-year-old was still getting used to the idea as he left the draft in New York.
” “I don’t know how it’s fully processed in my brain, the magnitude that it is, but I’ve definitely thought about it a few times.” Christie stated. “It’s a great opportunity for me to learn and get better and play alongside them, as obviously ridiculous as it is.”
Although Christie hit just 31.7% of his 3-point attempts as a freshman, his smooth shot and improving wing defense attracted the Lakers’ attention. Although he still has to gain weight and strength as a rookie, Pelinka feels that Christie is a potential NBA star.
The Lakers did not have any draft picks until Thursday morning when they traded for cash considerations to acquire a high-ranking second-round selection in Orlando and a second round pick in 2028.. Los Angeles acquired Davis while trading away its 2022 selections from 2019.
The Lakers are known for finding NBA-caliber talent beyond the top tiers of previous drafts. Their scouting team identified Christie as an addition to their depth and potential future roster. This is a team that has been in constant win-now mode, with James and Davis.
” Our scouts are known for finding players in the second round who we can turn into great players. We believe Max Christie will be next in line, Pelinka stated.
Los Angeles has acquired or drafted Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso since HTML1.
While most NBA scouts weren’t sure if Christie could contribute immediately to an NBA team, the Lakers require low-cost support personnel. The majority of the payroll will likely go to James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is expected to use his $47million player option to make a return.
Ham said he is eager to coach Westbrook, whose ineffective play last year in his Lakers debut was a primary reason the franchise finished 33-49 and missed the play-in tournament. The Lakers were also ruined by injuries, which saw James, Davis, and Westbrook together in their line-up for 21 matches.
Christie hails from Chicago, along with Davis, Horton Tuckerer, and Lakers’ guard Kendrick Nunn.
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