Who is Max Christie? Lakers select Michigan State product No. 35 overall in 2022 NBA Draft
Back in early June, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had a vision.
He believed that if the Lakers, who had no picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, could trade their way in, they could get a young player that new head coach Darvin Ham could develop into being part of their rotation.
“So, yeah, one of the intentional sort of philosophical, architectural visions for us is to get younger and coach Ham has a passion for developing players," Pelinka said. "So it would be a goal for us to try to somehow get into the second round to get a young player that we can develop. We’ve had great success if you look at our draft history, and the guys we’ve drafted and developed. We think we can do it again in 2022 if we can pull off a trade to get a pick.”
Pelinka's belief came to fruition on Thursday when the Lakers acquired the No 35 overall pick in a deal with the Orlando Magic. To get the No. 35 pick, the Lakers traded a future second-round selection and cash.
OFFICIAL: The Lakers have acquired the 35th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft from the Orlando Magic in exchange for a future second round pick and cash considerations.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 23, 2022
And with the No. 35 pick, the Lakers selected Max Christie from Michigan State.
Rob Pelinka says Max Christie was a consensus pick for the Lakers' scouts and front office. Pelinka said it's rare that all parties are in agreement on who the pick should be.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) June 24, 2022
So who exactly is Christie? Let's break it down.
Growing up outside of Chicago, Christie was an elite high school player and garnered numerous accolades including being selected for the McDonald's All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit. He became known as one of the top shooting guards in the 2021 class and was viewed as a big-time recruit for Michigan State.
At Michigan State, Christie was a key part of the Spartans' rotation as a freshman. He averaged 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 30.8 minutes per game. Christie was expected to be a three-point threat but shot just 31.7 percent from behind the arc with the Spartans.
Here's a quick breakdown on Christie.
After getting drafted, Christie talked with reporters about how excited he is to join a star-studded Lakers team. For Christie, the chance to play with superstars like LeBron James and potentially Carmelo Anthony feels like a dream.
"It's amazing. It's surreal," Christie said. "LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony -- the list goes on. A bunch of great names, a bunch of great players on the Lakers team. I think I can learn a lot and get a lot better in that organization.
An impressive scorer, Christie also noted how much he's looking forward to learning from another similar scorer in Anthony.
"[Anthony is] one of the greatest scorers of all time," Christie said. "I know he's a great player historically and he's a great player now, so he's someone I'll be looking to, for sure."
Christie also believes that he can help the Lakers right away but is also ready to do whatever the team needs him to do.
"I think I'm ready to contribute, for sure, right away," Christie said. "I'm just happy to be part of the organization and contribute any way I can."
There have only been a few players drafted with the No. 35 pick that have had significant NBA careers.
Most recently that list includes Carlos Boozer (2002) P.J. Tucker (2006), Glen Davis (2007), DeAndre Jordan (2008), Nemanja Bjelica (2010) and Draymond Green (2012).
Green is a fellow Michigan State Spartan and after Christie was selected, predicted an All-Star career for the 19-year-old shooting guard.
Another 35th pick from Michigan State. History says he’s going to be an All-Star 🤷🏿♂️— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 24, 2022
If Christie actually turns into an All-Star, the Lakers would've certainly gotten a steal at No 35 in the 2022 NBA Draft.