After a strong performance in the first game of the preseason, Max Christie received plenty of praise from head coach Darvin Ham and Anthony Davis.
While Max Christie wasn’t a prominent part of the Lakers season as a rookie, just about everything since the end of the season has put him on an upward trend.
A strong Summer League showing gave way to praise during training camp this past week. In his first action of his sophomore season, Christie continued to impress in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors.
In 25 minutes off the bench, Christie finished with 15 points on 6-10 shooting overall and 2-4 shooting from range. On a night where LeBron James and Austin Reaves didn’t play and Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell each only played one half, Christie was one of the biggest positive takeaways.
After the game, head coach Darvin Ham spoke about Christie’s performance and his advice to him heading into the season.
“Just encouraging him to be more aggressive,” Ham said. “He’s a guy that’s going to be one of our most versatile basketball players on the roster. He can guard multiple positions from the one to the three and some fours. I want him to be aggressive in that manner and take in that manner and take on those challenges. Then offensively, same thing. He can catch-and-shoot with the best of them and I want him to be comfortable shooting that three and also playing downhill, playing to the paint, playing to the rim.”
While it is obviously only a preseason game, Christie has continued to step up to the challenge along the way over the last four months. And to his credit, in the limited minutes he had as a rookie, he played well enough to continue to earn playing time. Only the team’s midseason trades led to him falling out of the rotation.
Like his head coach, Anthony Davis also had praise for the Michigan State product after Monday’s game.
“His ability to score, toughness, he defends. He does it all,” Davis said. “Ultimate confidence. Man, there’s a lot of things you can say about Max. He’s putting it together. He knows where to pick his spots on the floor, where he’s going to score, when to make the right plays, just being aggressive. We’re going to need that from him at some point during the course of the season and just keeping a mindset of just attacking and being himself… But he’s definitely been playing well through the course of camp and played a good game tonight.”
Christie is going to have opportunities this year. While D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Gabe Vincent will lock down minutes in the back court, Christie and fellow youngster Jalen Hood-Schifino will have the chance at minutes as the fourth guard on the roster.
JHS also earned praise for his work in training camp and had a solid outing in his debut. But Christie will likely have the upper hand and if he keeps answering the bell, the opportunities will only continue to come.