The Los Angeles Lakers made it clear they wanted to have a spot in the 2022 NBA Draft and prior to Thursday’s night event they traded for Magic’s No.35 selection. The Lakers did not have a pick in the 2022 prior to the deal.
The LA franchise picked Michigan State guard Max Christie with the No. 35 pick. Christie is listed at 6’6″, 190-pounds and averaged 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 31.7% from three in 30.8 minutes in his one season in Michigan.
“I think Max is a McDonalds All-American that was one of the top recruits that Michigan State’s signed in recent history and I actually think he had a really strong season for a 19-year-old playing in the Big Ten which is a man’s league,” Pelinka said.
As has been the case in recent years, the Lakers were active in the undrafted free-agent market. Given their past success with players like Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves. They brought Cole Swider and Scotty Pippen Jr. as undrafted free agents, per Shams Charania.
The Lakers will add two more promising talents on two-way deals in their mission to get younger around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. After three seasons at Villanova, Swider transferred to Syracuse for his senior year.
He averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 41% from 3-point range. Pippen Jr. was a two-time First Team All-SEC selection who led the conference in scoring last season at 20.4 points per game.
“We talked about intentionally getting younger, and I think the chance to get into the top of the second round was something that we strategically had on our board that we wanted to accomplish,” Pelinka stated.
After hiring Darvin Ham to replace head coach Frank Vogel, the Lakers are hoping to bounce back from a 33-49 season. They missed the playoffs, being away from the contender they expected to be at the start of the 2021-22 season.