Selected by the dynastic Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft, Max Christie is going to league’s banner franchise. Taken with the 35th overall pick out of Michigan State, Christie has a lot to prove in order to carve out a real role with the Lakers this season.
And he got the ball rolling in 2022 NBA Summer League. During his Summer League debut, Max Christie scored five points and collected nine rebounds in a 100–66 California Classic win over the Miami Heat.
On July 8, Max Christie signed a rookie-scale contract with the club, and the long and lean 6-6 former Spartan has high NBA prospects.
It’s going to be an uphill battle in L.A., where the Lakers roster is really loaded, but he has the potential for a great future in the league. The Lakers are going to be among the top contenders in the Western Conference, as they are among the favorites to represent the West in the NBA Finals. According to the odds at Betway, LAL have the fourth best prospects of winning the west. Backed at about the range of +550, they are behind only the Golden State Warriors, L.A. Clippers and Phoenix Suns.
With 17 NBA titles, expectations are always high in Lakerland. Maybe Christie will be a part of that, as he has the ability to play multiple positions and he’s often drawn comparisons to Jeremy Lamb and Rip Hamilton, among others.
One and done at Michigan State, he was the bluest of the blue-chip recruits that Tom Izzo brought to East Lansing last year.
No. 12 in the ESPN Top-100 and the No. 3-ranked shooting guard in the nation, he was also ranked No. 17 in the 247sports composite.
“One thing about Max, it’s been a little bit of a tough year on him, but he draws the best,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said at the Big Ten Tournament.
“When we played Illinois, Frazier’s on him. You play Purdue, their best defender’s on him. We play Wisconsin, Brad Davis is on him. And if you watch how they played him, they turned him down, they didn’t let him get the ball.
“I thought for Max’s future, he’s proving that he can defend, he can rebound, he can make free throws, he does a lot of things. Everybody knows he can score the ball and nobody more than me, even though maybe it hasn’t been quite that kind of a — especially last three weeks.”
“But Max is still going to go off offensively. What’s amazing is as a freshman, his stamina, he’s able to do what he’s able to do because he’s running that lane.
“I’m even playing him at the point some trying to get him some shots and he’s also checking the best players every night.”
Max Christie had about 20-30 friends and family on hand at Welsh-Ryan Arena in January, for his “homecoming” game, which saw the Spartans comfortably beat Northwestern. Included in his group were some of his former teachers at Rolling Meadows High School, where his favorite class was AP History.
That’s the same high school that produced San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappolo.
Said Northwestern forward Pete Nance of the challenges of defending Max Christie:
“He’s a really good young player, he can really shoot, put it on the floor, that was an emphasis of ours- we just did everything we could to try and stop him, but we gotta live with it.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.