The Lakers didn’t have any picks until Thursday morning, when they acquired a high second-round selection from Orlando in a trade for cash considerations and a second-round pick in 2028. Los Angeles traded away both of its own 2022 selections back in 2019 while acquiring Anthony Davis.
The 6-foot-6 Christie averaged 9.3 points and 3.5 assists last year with the Spartans. Although he hit just 31.7% of his 3-point attempts, his smooth shot and improving wing defense attracted attention as he elected to head to the NBA after just one collegiate season.
Christie is a Chicago-area native, as are Davis and Lakers swingman Talen Horton-Tucker.
The Lakers have a solid history of finding NBA-caliber talent outside the upper reaches of the past six drafts, and their scouting department identified Christie as a depth addition who could contribute more in the future to a team perpetually in win-now mode with Davis and LeBron James.
While most NBA scouts were undecided whether Christie can contribute to an NBA team immediately, the Lakers need low-cost supporting personnel. Most of their payroll likely will be going to James, Davis and Russell Westbrook, who is expected to exercise his $47 million player option to return.
New Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham said he is eager to coach Westbrook, whose ineffective play last year in his Lakers debut was a primary reason the franchise finished 33-49 and missed the play-in tournament. Injuries also doomed the Lakers, who had James, Davis and Westbrook in their lineup together for only 21 games.