With the No. 35 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the LA Lakers selected Max Christie after acquired the pick earlier in the day when they sent out a future second-rounder and cash to the Magic.
Christie is a 6’5” shooting guard from Michigan State who averaged 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game in his lone collegiate season. He is widely projected to become a sharpshooter from beyond the arc despite converting just 31.7 percent of his 3-pointers last season. He’s also been a decent defender of both guards and wings.
According to The Athletic’s 2022 draft guide written by Sam Vecenie, the 19-year-old isn’t likely to be an effective rookie from the get-go — something the Lakers say they aren’t concerned with. Vecenie’s scouting report of Christie also suggests that he needs to at least add 15 more pounds to his 190-pound frame and prove he can shoot reliably enough in order to see consistent minutes. However, it seems the Lakers are confident that he can eventually turn into an impactful two-way player with his clean shooting mechanics, high IQ, size, and commitment to playing defense.
At least general manager Rob Pelinka and his entire draft room think so:
Rob Pelinka says the Lakers wanted to get younger and had been targeting a high second-round pick. He believes Max Christie is next in line with the Lakers' long list of impressive draft picks over the past decade. Called him a "two-way, 3-and-D" player.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) June 24, 2022
Although he might not be able to do it right away, Christie’s projection as a 3-and-D wing could potentially patch over one of the Lakers’ most glaring organizational weaknesses. According to Draft Express’ scouting report from this past March, penned by Mike Schmitz, the Michigan State standout caught scouts’ attention with his surprisingly adept off-the-dribble shot creation, especially in the mid-range, which is something the Lakers say they think he can take with him into the NBA.
With Darvin Ham set to implement his 4-out-1-in offense with the Lakers this season, Christie’s ability to develop into an elite 3-point shooter might just make him an ideal fit for the perimeter-dependent system. Before he steps foot on the court with any of the superstar teammates he says he’s excited to join, Christie’s first task will be to impress his new employers at the Las Vegas Summer League, where he is expected to suit up from July 7-17.
The Lakers are using their one and only pick in this year’s draft on Christie, and seem to believe that he is capable of providing first-round value despite falling all the way to 35. And considering how successful the Lakers’ scouting department has been at finding undervalued talent, it’s going to be interesting to see if they can once again secure a steal in the second round (like another Michigan State alum seems to think they have).
Another 35th pick from Michigan State. History says he’s going to be an All-Star ♂️— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 24, 2022
This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more information and analysis as it develops, but for now, what do you think of the pick? Let us know in the comments below.