The Los Angeles Lakers made their yearly trip to Cleveland on Saturday night for a game that is always must-see TV with LeBron James on the roster. LeBron and the Lake Show were able to emerge victoriously, beating the Cavaliers 121-115.
While LeBron and Anthony Davis were both great in the game, the biggest conversation among the fanbase after the game revolved around second-year player Max Christie. Christie was forced to play a bigger role with the Lakers short-handed and he looked great on both ends.
Christie was not part of Darvin Ham's initial rotation much to the surprise of fans who were expecting a breakout season for the second-year player. This breakout performance is viewed by many as an arrival of sorts for Christie, who now can presumably play a more impactful role in the rotation.
It is undeniable that Christie had a great game for the Lakers and that it was a great thing to see. However, one good night does not change the dynamic of an entire season and fans should remember that.
Lakers fans must temper expectations with Max Christie
As solid as Christie played on Saturday night, one good game does not negate all of the games where Christie did not look like he was NBA-ready. Granted, there is a world in which this could be a corner-turning moment, but we need more than one good game to start having that conversation.
Overall, Christie has still looked like a second-year 20-year-old player who was taken in the second round. The Lakers' net rating has been 13.6 points worse with Christie on the court this season (including Saturday night) in large part due to his offensive inefficiencies.
When the Lakers are at full strength there still is no place for Christie in the rotation. Cam Reddish has been more consistent than Christie and deserves the playing time over him. Once Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent return, the need for a defense-first rotation guy who doesn't offer much offensively isn't as prominent.
All of this is important to remember for fans. Because come January, when the team is healthy, fans might be seeing a lot more DNPs for Christie. Instead of getting outraged at Ham over that decision, fans need to temper expectations and realize that Christie very much is still a work in progress.
One solid game does not change that reality.