The Los Angeles Lakers spent weeks leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft trying to trade their way into the second round, and on Thursday, they succeeded by swiping the No. 35 pick away from the Orlando Magic. Now, we know that they've used that pick to select Michigan State wing, Max Christie.
Christie made his name as a Spartan with his defense. With a 6-9 wingspan, he should be able to defend multiple positions on the perimeter with good speed and athleticism. After a season in which their No. 1 ranked defense fell all the way to No. 21, adding a prospect with stopper potential makes plenty of sense.
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Where Christie will need to improve is on offense. Scoring only 9.3 points per game is forgivable in a vacuum, but the Lakers need their role players to hit 3-pointers. Christie made just 31.7 percent of his attempts at Michigan State. His 82.4 free throw percentage suggests that there's room to improve, but his success as a Laker is going to come down to how much he can improve as a shooter.
The Lakers have one of the best scouting departments in the NBA. They found Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart at the end of the first round. Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves were undrafted free agents. Now, we'll see if they've unearthed another gem in Christie. With only eight players signed for next season at the moment, there's probably going to be plenty of opportunities for Christie to earn minutes next season.