It’s been a busy past week for Los Angeles Lakers’ second-round pick Max Christie. The 6-foot-6 guard went from seeing his dream come true at the draft in New York to having his first professional practice in L.A.
The Lakers Summer League team began practicing Tuesday for the California Classic in San Franciso this weekend. The Purple and Gold will face the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors in a tuneup before the Las Vegas Summer League.
An emphasis for Christie over the summer will be to add to his 190-pound frame and tune his jump shot. Scouts wondered if an extra year would have been more beneficial for Christie, but the Lakers were clearly impressed by his potential — Christie was a unanimous choice.
One practice won’t tap into all of his potential, though it was productive for the Illinois native.
“It was good. It was the first practice obviously, so the focus was on first practice things, new terminology, learning about a new game transitioning from college to the NBA,” he said. “This practice was fun, I really enjoyed it actually so I’m really looking forward to playing in Summer League.”
A week ago, Christie had no idea where he’d start his NBA career or what to expect on draft night.
Being chosen by the Lakers came as a surprise for him. He didn’t work out with the Lakers and only communicated with the organization at the NBA Combine. The Lakers didn’t even have a draft pick until a day before Adam Silver was calling out names.
Putting on a Purple and Gold hat, however, wasn’t the biggest surprise of the night for Christie.
“The biggest shock is you never know where you’re gonna end up and where you can end up, it’s sort of a shock since you really don’t know. And like you said, on draft night I had really no idea where I was going when I was there,” Christie said. “It was a really cool experience just to walk across that stage and put a Lakers hat on more than any other organization because it’s such a prestigious place. So I’m really happy to be here and I’m really excited for this season.”
Christie said the moments after being drafted were difficult to describe with “a lot going on.” By being picked No. 35, Christie also became the first Spartan to be taken in that spot since Draymond Green in 2013.
Hearing his name called was a dream and so far being a Laker has lived up to the hype.
“It’s been really, really cool being part of the Lakers, a prestigious organization. It’s really fun, I’ve had to grow up really fast as an adult just coming down here really quick, especially as a 19-year-old, it’s difficult at times. But I’m really blessed to be here and happy to get going with this process.”
Russell Westbrook reached out to Christie after being drafted
Being drafted into the NBA is one thing, but joining an organization like the Lakers is a major transition. Add that to becoming teammates with players such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook and you’re in for something.
Christie called teaming up with those three “living the dream.” Westbrook, who just opted into his $47 million contract, reached out to Christie soon after the draft.
“Russell [Westbrook] texted me the next day on Friday. Just welcoming me to the team, encouraging me and giving me support,” Christie said. He seems like a great person already.”
It’s still up in the air if Christie and Westbrook will share the court next season. But, Westbrook building chemistry early with the rookie is a good sign for the team.
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