Throughout his rookie season, Max Christie showed spurts and moments of what he could become for the Lakers in the future. His playing time was hardly ever consistent, particularly after the trade deadline, but he did more than enough to show his value and potential moving forward.
His development will be one of the more exciting things to monitor for Lakers fans this summer. The good news is they’ll be able to watch some of that firsthand. During his exit interview, Christie confirmed he would be playing in Summer League.
“I’m certainly planning to play in the Summer League, that’s for sure,” Christie said. “I want to make sure I keep getting my feet wet, make sure I’m getting as much playing experience I can.”
Across eight games in Summer League last year, Christie played 23.8 minutes, scored 7.4 points per game and grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game but struggled mightily with his shot.
A lot has changed since that summer. Christie has added weight and muscle since then and has gained a level of comfort and familiarity with the NBA game. Naturally, second-year players typically are far more successful in the Summer League versus rookies.
While none of the other participants are known — and there’s still a chance the Lakers hold him out — the team could potentially consist of him, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider, if the Lakers keep them on their 2-way contracts, and the team’s No. 17 and No. 47 picks.
That’s a far cry from the Baby Lakers, but it’s a solid Summer League team that would have a lot of pieces worth watching for the Lakers.
As for Christie, when asked what he plans on focusing on this summer, his answer was appropriately broad.
“In terms of things to work on, everything in general,” Christie said. “Keep stacking good days, working on my fundamentals, building on the foundation that I laid this season and making sure I’m getting my work in this summer so that I can come back next season and really make an impact for this team.”
Considering how raw he is as a talent, this is the right answer from Christie. He has some strengths in his defense and his 3-point shooting potential, but all of his game needs developing right now.
If he does get in the gym and do the work, he could easily earn his way into the Laker rotation next season and become the latest Lakers draftee to blossom.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.