Second-year Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, Max Christie, aims to establish himself as a key player in the 2023-24 season. Christie’s situation may seem unremarkable to casual fans, but his journey is marked by unique challenges due to his contract status.
Selected as the 35th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Christie’s contract differs significantly from that of first-round draft picks. While first-rounders typically secure four-year deals with predefined salaries, second-round picks like Christie have more flexibility. They often opt for shorter-term contracts, hoping to land more lucrative deals sooner. Teams, too, are cautious with second-round picks, offering them smaller upfront payments.
Christie, in his case, signed a two-year deal with the Lakers, making him a restricted free agent in the upcoming summer. This means the Lakers can match any offers from other teams. Despite showing potential as a 3-and-D swingman, Christie must still prove himself as a valuable asset to the Lakers, a team with championship aspirations.
In the 2023-24 season, Christie faces stiff competition for a backup shooting guard position behind starter Austin Reaves. He’ll contend with players like Cam Reddish and rookie first-rounder Jalen Hood-Schifino. Additionally, Gabe Vincent may also see playing time at the two-spot while serving as the backup point guard behind D’Angelo Russell.
Last season, in just 41 regular-season games, Christie averaged 3.1 points with shooting percentages of .415/.419/.875. In another 41 games with LA’s NBAGL affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, Christie showcased improved performance, averaging 14.3 points with shooting percentages of .416/.290/.714. He also contributed 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.5 blocks.
For Christie, a former Big Ten Freshman of the Year, this season is crucial. If he fails to secure a spot in the Lakers’ rotation, his time with the team could be short-lived. The coming months will reveal whether Christie can rise to the challenge and secure his place among the Lakers’ roster for the 2023-24 season.