Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and draft pick Max Christie discuss the future

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and draft pick Max Christie discuss the future

Playing for Michigan State as a guard, Max Christie shoots against Iowa in February.

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

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When it came time for the Lakers to make their pick, the team had options for more NBA-ready prospects — namely Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell. But Pelinka said on draft night, you can’t think that way.

“I think the wrong thing to do in the draft is to just say, ‘We need to get this guy who can play for us right now.’ That’s when you can make big mistakes,” Pelinka said. “We wanted to take the player that we thought could help our team in the current, present time but really develop into something special. And we think Max Christie has that DNA.”

The statistics at Michigan State weren’t great — especially shooting: Christie made only 31.7% from the three-point range.

“I really think he’s going to turn into a really good shooter,” Pelinka said. “He’s got just beautiful touch on the ball. Great arch and rotation on his shot. And then he’s a twitchy athlete with a really unique floater game and finishing skills around the basket. He can get in the paint. We really think he’s a guy that if he would’ve chosen to go back to school, you’re talking about a guy that could’ve easily been in the top 20, top 15 of next year’s draft. So to be able to get a player like that and develop him with the 35th pick is rare, and we’re really proud.”

The Lakers have known of him long before this past season, having scouted Christie as he went through the elite summer camps while he was a high school star.

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