On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Max Christie, Michigan State’s guard, as the 35th overall selection in the NBA draft.
The Lakers had no picks up until Thursday morning. They acquired a high second round selection from Orlando in trade for cash considerations. Los Angeles acquired Anthony Davis while trading away its 2022 selections.
Christie, 6-foot-6, averaged 9.3 and 3.5 points last year for the Spartans. Although he missed only 31.7% of his 3-point attempts last year, his smooth shot was noticed and his better wing defense earned him attention. He chose to go to the NBA after only one season in college.
Christie, like Davis and Lakers swingman Talen Horrton-Tucker, hails from Chicago.
The Lakers have a strong history of finding NBA-caliber talent beyond the top reaches of the six previous drafts. Their scouting team identified Christie as a depth player who could add more to the future of a team that is always in win-now mode with Davis, LeBron James and LeBron.
Although most NBA scouts aren’t certain that Christie is able to contribute immediately to an NBA team, the Lakers still need support personnel at a low cost. Their payroll will likely go to James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is expected to use his $47 million player option.
Darvin Ham, Los Angeles’ new coach, stated that he was eager to coach Westbrook. Westbrook’s inept play last year in his Lakers debut led to the team finishing 33-49 and missing the play-in tournament. Lakers also lost James, Davis, Westbrook, and their entire lineup for just 21 games due to injuries.
The Lakers signed Scottie Pippen Jr., Cole Swider, and Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, to two-way contracts after the draft.
O’Neal, Pippen Jr., and O’Neal both worked out with Lakers this week. It appears that they displayed enough talent from their fathers to get a chance with the Lake Show.
Summer League is July 7-17 in Las Vegas.