2022 NBA Draft Tracker: Lakers select Max Christie 35th overall

Max Christie
Max Christie was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2022 NBA Draft (Carlos Osorio/AP)

The 2022 NBA Draft is finally here. While the Los Angeles Lakers came into the day with no draft picks of their own, they did acquire the 35th overall pick in the draft from the Orlando Magic in return for a 2028 second-round pick and cash considerations on Thursday. Rob Pelinka had been open about the Lakers’ desire to buy a second-round pick and getting one this high in the round gives the team a good chance to find an impactful rookie to add to their currently barren roster for the 2022-23 season.

We will be tracking who the Lakers select with their pick as well as any other potential selections and undrafted rookie signings in this space. Keep checking back to learn more about the newest Lakers.

Max Christie, G, Michigan State

With the 35th overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Max Christie out of Michigan State. Christie, a 6-6 guard, played 35 games in his freshman season for the Spartans. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per season, shooting 38.2 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from three. Despite the poor shooting numbers, draft experts are bullish on Christie being an NBA-level 3-point shooter due to his good mechanics and shot profile. Christie’s role at Michigan State was mostly that of a spot-up shooter but one who could also be used running off of screens.

The following is from The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s draft guide:

“Christie has pristine shooting mechanics, and most scouts feel confident he will knock down shots from distance even though he made just 31.7 percent from 3 in 2021-22. Perfect balance and rhythm throughout the shot. Very high release point that allows him to shoot off a hard closeout”

“If you draft Christie, you’re hoping he takes the next year and a half, adds 15 pounds to a frame that desperately needs it and becomes the lights-out shooter he has potential to be. If you feel confident your team can do that, I buy having a first-round grade on Christie because his touch, balance and natural feel for separating from defenders gives him real upside in a role that every team is seeking. Every single NBA team would love to find wings with legitimate size and length who can make open jumpers, generate shots without the ball and defend their position well enough to stay on the court in NBA settings. Christie has the upside to do that.”

From Vecenie’s thoughts, it seems that Christie is definitely a project with high upside, which is perhaps a bit surprising given most assumed the Lakers would go for a player who can contribute right away, given their need for positive contributors on a short-handed roster.

Shareef O’Neal, F, LSU

The first undrafted free agent off the board was a familiar last name for Lakers fans. An O’Neal will once again don the purple and gold; this time it’s Shaquille’s son, Shareef. The 6-10 forward out of LSU returns to Los Angeles where he started his collegiate career.

Shareef committed to UCLA out of high school as a four-star recruit. Unfortunately, after complaining about a pain in his chest after workouts, it was discovered he had a heart condition that required surgery. Luckily, the surgery was successful and was able to return to basketball, but had trouble finding his place with the Bruins after missing so much time. He eventually decided to transfer to his father’s alma mater. For his collegiate career, Shareef averaged 2.6 points by shooting 40.5% from the floor and grabbed three rebounds per game.

The Lakers offered him a spot on the Summer League team, which means he still has a long way to go to actually make the main roster, but this is a start. Shareef will now get a chance to show his worth in Las Vegas while helping the Lakers compete for a Summer League title.

Scotty Pippen, Jr., G, Vanderbilt

The second son-of-a-Hall-of-Famer signed by the Lakers in the immediate aftermath of the draft, Pippen played three seasons at Vanderbilt. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, he will be signing a two-way contract with the Lakers. The guard scored 20.4 points per game, his second straight season scoring over 20 points a game, shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from three. Pippen, the son of six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen, was an All-SEC first-team player the last two seasons. He is known for his playmaking and shooting mechanics as well as his defensive tenacity but standing at 6-1, his upside may be limited.

Cole Swider, F, Syracuse

Swider, a 6-9 forward out of Syracuse, was signed to the Lakers’ other two-way spot after the draft. He played three years with Villanova before transferring to the Orange, breaking out in his senior year to average 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from three. Swider was mostly an off-the-ball threat as a shooter, playing alongside ball-dominant guards. His defense and offensive versatility are areas for improvement.

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