Max Christie’s unique bet on his talent has paid off, from the state of Michigan to the NBA.
With new teammate LeBron James.
The former five-star prospect went to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round with the 35th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night.
“One thing that, for me, will be useful is time,” Christie told reporters at the NBA combine in May. “I’m only 19 and I think being in an NBA system for a few years will really help me grow and improve over time. A team willing to do it, the resources that have been implemented and the things that have been done in recent years promote it for me. “
Christie is the first player chosen by the Spartans since Xavier Tillman and Cassius Winston both went to the second round of 2020: Memphis took Tillman with the 35th pick that year. Manager Tom Izzo didn’t take a first-round player from Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2018.
Moments after the announcement of the choice, former MSU and current Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green highlighted his draft night 10 years ago. Like Christie and Tillman, he was also the 35th pick in the 2012 draft.
“Another 35th choice from the state of Michigan,” Green tweeted. “History says he will become an All-Star.”
Christie’s only season as a Spartan was fickle. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard started all 35 games he played, skipping one against High Point on December 29 due to COVID-19, and recorded solid all-round numbers for a freshman averaging 9. 3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 turnovers in a record-breaking 30.8 minutes. She made 82.4% of her free throws and was a plus-65 on the pitch.
Christie struggled with her shots, making 38.2% of her total shots and 31.7% 3-point shots. Despite showing some explosiveness and surprising quickness of leap, his need to add strength and mass to his 190 pounds seemed evident once the Big Ten game arrived. He shot 44.7% inside the arc, mainly on mid-range jumpers, and had trouble finishing due to contact with paint. Christie got 23.9% of his 3 of him in February and March, as his legs strained from his defensive responsibilities as he often attracted opponents’ top scorer threats.
“It may not have been reflected in the past year, but I think I know and I think everyone knows I’m a better shooter than the one I’ve produced,” Christie, originally from Arlington Heights, Illinois, said in May. “I’m not very worried about the numbers that have been produced: I’m a better shooter and I’ll shoot him better in the NBA.”
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas called Christie’s selection of the Lakers a “value pick” and complimented him on having “a really good shot shot” with a high release despite Christie’s struggles.
“I’d say he’s a solid defender, so you’d look at him as another 3-and-D guy,” said Bilas. “He ended up being a little eccentric last year, but he has a lot of potential. I think if he went back to school, we’d talk about him as a first-round pick next year. He just needed a little bit of time to develop and he will have it when he arrives at the Lakers. “
Christie is the first MSU player selected by the Lakers since Magic Johnson became number 1 overall in the 1979 NBA draft.
Contact Chris Solari: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @crissolari. Read more about the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.