The Los Angeles Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham have had to turn to second-year guard Max Christie in the starting lineup with injuries to Cam Reddish and Jarred Vanderbilt. And it only took two starts for Christie to prove himself as a legitimate rotation option moving forward. He finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists on 5-for-7 shooting and was a plus-six on the night.
Ham took a bit of a gamble having Christie take over in the starting lineup instead of turning back to Austin Reaves. But people around the organization have been high on Christie since draft night for a reason. He played a quality game on both ends of the floor and undoubtedly contributed to a winning effort.
Ham spoke about what Christie brought to the Cavaliers victory, as well as everything he does off the court to improve himself and the Lakers, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Oh absolutely. A matchup like that, all those guys that he had to try and defend. Caris (LeVert), Darius (Garland), Max (Strus) and Donovan (Mitchell) down the stretch toward the end of the game, that’s a huge, huge challenge for a young player like Max, but it was one that was much needed. So he was awesome tonight, we gave him a shoutout after the game. Everyone here is pulling for him, knows how special he can be and how special he already is. And the biggest thing for him is the more minutes he gets, the more comfortable he gets. We had to rely on him some last year, his rookie year, due to some of the same circumstances. So he was ready to go, kid works on his game furiously and is constantly engaged with watching film and making sure he knows what to do when he’s called upon. I think you saw that tonight.”
In small doses, Christie has shown himself to be a quality young player with a potentially high ceiling. And if Ham believes that he’ll only get better with more minutes, that could be a sign of things to come in the rotation for Christie.
L.A. is beginning to have a bit of a rotational logjam when they’re healthy, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Christie play a larger role moving forward.
Vanderbilt ramping up in small segments
It’s been a long recovery process for Jarred Vanderbilt, who suffered a bout of left heel bursitis in preseason and has yet to make it to the floor in the regular season. He has begun a ramp-up to return, but even that is going slower than usual, with him ramping up in small segments.
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