A member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team, Max Christie had an underwhelming freshman year, but ultimately decided to declare for and stay in the 2022 NBA Draft. As a freshman he averaged 9.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.5 BPG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.5 TOPG on shooting splits of 38/32/82. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Max Christie
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’9/8’6 ½
Hand size: 8 ½
Pre-Draft team: Michigan State
Tools: Defense, spot-up shooting
- Projectable jumper with a high, smooth release
- Consistent defender
- Good floor vision
- Can run some P&Rs and find shooters out of attacking closeouts
- Strong turnaround jump shot
- Long arms
- Good body control and recovery ability on defense
- Good feel for the game
- Comfortable finishing above the rim, particularly off of cuts
- Lacks explosion on drives, especially layups
- Doesn’t separate on drives
- Needs to speed up base on pull-up jumpers, especially off of screens
- Struggles to get his pull-up jumper off, largely off of screens
- Inefficient freshman season
- Lacks athleticism to be a great defender against the apex of drives/shots vs plus athletes
Max Christie is a shooter that uses his size to his advantage, with the ability to play-make in specific situations as a last option. He also has strong defensive skill now, with room to grow towards becoming a great NBA defender.
Offensively, Christie is somewhat one-dimensional, but very good at the few things he does. Christie thrives as a spot-up shooter, being able to rise up and shoot over defenders, which is a valuable day-one trait. Christie can also use his shooting ability to collapse and scramble defenses, making teams pay for overcommitting on his jump shots, and in turn quickly able to find an open teammate.
Christie does a good job of passing out of drives from any angle, thriving at finding cutters and spot-up shooters. He can also run some delay pick & roll sets for the cutting big man, which can be a valuable secondary skill offensively.
Christie will need to improve his movement shooting and overall shooting off of screens, as well as shooting off the dribble. Christie doesn’t always get his feet set quickly, which limits him in both spot-up movement shooting and pull-up shooting. He often allows defenders to get back into the play with his overall subpar shot speed, although his high jump shot release counters the late contest well.
Defensively, Christie wins the original positioning against ball-handlers, and has quick feet to stay in front of his man on both drives and perimeter creation settings. Additionally, Christie’s strong basketball IQ allows him to manipulate ball-handlers into help defenders near the rim, which forces bad shots. With Christie’s length, he can contest drives and jump shots well, altering any kind of shot from any distance. The one area for improvement in Christie’s defensive outlook is winning plays defensively at the rim 1-on-1. Against long athletes’ extensions, Christie cannot explode for blocks or shot contests (example below). If Christie can improve athletically to win these plays, he will find success in the NBA with defensive prowess.
Overall, a team looking at a project 3&D wing in the 2nd round should take a swing on Max Christie. While he would need to be a great shooter or similar, plus capable playmaking ability to stick offensively as more than a 5th option at any given time, there is a realistic route to improvement and mastering the areas Christie is skilled in.
Similar to: Aaron Afflalo, Amir Coffey, Saddiq Bey
Projected draft range: 2nd round
Expected role: Spot-up shooter with good defense
Unplayable if: Jumper doesn’t translate, negating almost all defensive abilities. Defensively, if his lack of top-end athleticism limits his recovery ability, he never stands out as an elite defender.
Exceeds expectations if: Shooting off the dribble develops, and spot-up shooting becomes elite.