2022 Draft Watch: First Look at Max Christie

August 30th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Recently, Michigan State’s incoming 6-6 freshman swingman, Max Christie has been receiving some draft buzz as a prospect for the 2022 draft.  I decided to watch him play for Rolling Meadows in a March 9th basketball game against Hersey, with thanks to YouTube via RMHS Streaming Mustangs.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in that match, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Max Christie is a sharpshooting guard that has been drawing some draft buzz for the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Jon Cunningham/Pioneer Press, via The Chicago Tribune)

Max Christie is a skilled, sharpshooting guard that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA. While he may lack elite physical tools, his ability to shoot the basketball and make plays defensively could enable him to find a niche role at that level. In this game, Christie showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers, as he especially excelled at making shots from the mid-range.  He is a subtly agile swingman that can use quick footwork to find ways to get open jump shots, and he showed a knack for scoring on pull-up jumpers from the mid-range and from just inside the arc.  He also was able to make a couple of pull-up threes, including one where he made a deep three from half court to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter.  Christie also ran off of a ball screen to make a deep, spot-up three, but he seemed to be far more comfortable in taking shots off the dribble rather than spot-up jumpers off the catch.

He also showed an adequate ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop.  Christie was able to use a hesitation move as he drove left to score on a switch of hands layup while getting an extra free throw.  He also managed to use a spin move to score on a drive in transition another time.  Sometimes, he would force up tough shots as he would struggle to try to score when help defenders would arrive in the paint, which would occasionally lead to misses. He also is not very fast nor overwhelmingly athletic, so he’ll have trouble getting all the way to the rim, which can make it tough for him to score in isolation situations.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Christie was able to use a pump fake to score on a put back.  He also tried to score in the post, but ended up missing on a turnaround jumper.

On the other hand, he will need to improve his playmaking skills.  For the positives, Christie is an unselfish player that will swing the ball to find the open man, and he also can throw long outlet passes to find teammates on the break.  He also can make drive and kick passes.  Plus, he also will set good on-ball screens to help get his teammates open jump shots and driving lanes to set up scores for them.  He can tend to over-dribble into traffic, as he would sometimes play too fast and out of control.  He would sometimes lose the ball, and there was one possession where he stumbled, fell, and lost the ball out of bounds.  He also can struggle to protect the basketball or break the press, and he can struggle to handle heavy ball pressure.  Other times, he would drop catchable passes, as one of his drops led to a team turnover.

He also did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball.  Christie was very active at crashing the glass, and he would leap up to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He especially excelled at grabbing defensive boards, and he would tend to quickly bring the ball up afterwards. Also, he played satisfactory defense in this game.  Christie showed that he is an above average athlete that can be a solid help defender when dialed in, as he can especially excel at challenging and altering shots to get stops for his team. 

He did a great job of blocking shots, and he would often rotate to block or alter shots in the paint, as he showed that he can swat those shots to his teammates.  He also would get his hands on errant passes and loose balls that went right to him to help his team get steals, and he also would deflect passes to make it difficult for his opponents to get their passes through.  He also would contest shots inside the arc to force some misses.  On the other hand, he would sometimes struggle to guard shooters, and he also would sometimes be unfocused or not give enough effort defensively. Sometimes despite being in the area, he wouldn’t contest jump shots, which would lead his team to allow scores.  He also would be late on his rotations, and he also lost track of a cutter another time to give up baskets other times.

Overall, Max Christie is a skilled, subtly agile swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also can rebound and defend, but he will need to show that he can fare well in the other skills at higher levels.  He’s not particularly fast or overwhelmingly athletic, so he can struggle to create his own shot at times, and he was occasionally unfocused on the defensive end.  Currently, he is a second round prospect in the 2022 draft, and he could end up being an effective rotation player similar to former journeyman guard, Jodie Meeks in the NBA.

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