The Los Angeles Lakers found a skilled 3-and-D wing in Max Christie during the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Lakers purchased the No. 35 pick from the Orlando Magic to draft Christie on Thursday. He proved his defensive prowess in the 6-foot-6 guard’s freshman year at Michigan State. And while he only made 31.7% of his triples, analysts claim the 19-year-old’s shot technique will allow him to improve his 3-point percentage.
L.A. lacked 3-and-D talent last season. Trevor Ariza never met the expectations after sitting out the first half of the campaign with injuries. Similarly, Talen Horton-Tucker made his season debut late due to preseason surgery on his thumb and then struggled with consistency until the end of 2021-22.
With the importance of 3-and-D wings rising in today’s game, the Lakers didn’t hesitate to select Christie with their newly-acquired pick on draft night. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reports L.A. had an interest in Kendall Brown and Andrew Nembhard but would have only considered selecting them if the Purple and Gold had bought another second-rounder:
Kendall Brown, the No. 48 pick, was also in consideration for Los Angeles at No. 35. The Lakers considered purchasing another second-round pick to draft Brown, sources said. The Lakers also had an interest in Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard, the No. 31 pick, though he was behind Christie and Brown on their board, sources said.
Some extraordinary defenders have been picked with the No. 35 pick in the past, including P.J. Tucker in 2006, Draymond Green in 2012 and Herb Jones in 2021.
Green recently brought up that fact after the Lakers selected Christie, tweeting “history says he’s going to be an All-Star.”
Christie ‘living his dream’ after signing with Lakers on draft night
Christie was emotional when he was presented as the new Laker on Thursday. “It feels really, really good just to have my dream come true,” he said.
“I’m really living my dream, so it feels really, really good. That’s the only thing I can sum up. I have a lot of emotions right now.”
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