3 Upside comparisons for Max Christie after re-signing with Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed Max Christie to a four-year, $32 million contract. It's a clear investment in Christie's upside—but what does that mean?
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
1 of 3

The Los Angeles Lakers have committed to the upside of former second-round draft pick Max Christie. It's an ambitious decision on general manager Rob Pelinka's behalf, with a simple question immediately presenting itself: How exactly can Christie's upside be defined?

In order to understand what betting on the upside of Christie might signify, it must first be determined what his ceiling actually is.

Christie is 21 years of age and coming off of just his second season in the NBA. He emerged as a five-star recruit and a McDonald's All-American during his high school career, and earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors during his lone season with the Michigan State Spartans.

In his two seasons under previous Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, however, Christie generally struggled to find time on the court.

Christie played just 12.5 minutes per game as a rookie and saw a mere 2.2-minute uptick to 14.7 during his sophomore campaign. There were signs of promise, but hardly enough consistency in his opportunities to play to truly gauge his potential.

The question is: Under a head coach who believes in him as a core member of the Lakers' future, who exactly does Christie resemble from an upside perspective?

Low-End Upside Comparison: Kevin Huerter

Through two NBA seasons, Christie has shown in his limited playing time that he has the potential to be a 3-and-D player. There hasn't been enough film to determine how legitimate those potential strengths may be, however, which informs the low-end upside comparison.

In the event that Christie continues to shoot well, but fails to establish himself on defense, then it's fair to look at Kevin Huerter as a barometer for his success.

Huerter is, by and large, a spot-up shooter with range that stretches far beyond the arc. He's capable of attacking closeouts, however, and is a bit underrated in terms of how shifty he can be when attacking the basket.

Huerter is, in no way, Luka Doncic or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the drive, but he keeps teams honest and is tremendously proficient from beyond the arc.

Christie is similar to Huerter in height and length, and does an excellent job of keeping the ball high on his jump shot. They also have similar career three-point field goal percentages, although Huerter obviously has a larger sample size to work off of.

In the event that Christie taps into his potential as a shooter, it's fair to believe that he can become a starting-caliber off-guard in the same way Huerter has been able to.