From Scottie Pippen Jr. (22) to Max Christie (20), we look back at the performances of the Lakers’ rookies.
The Lakers wrapped up the 2022-23 season on March 23 with a sweep in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
While players like Austin Reeves, Rui Hachimura, Lonnie Walker, and Jared Vanderbilt exceeded expectations, veterans like LeBron James and Dennis Schroder also contributed to the Lakers’ 22-23 season.
With the NBA 2023 Draft just a week away, here’s a look at how the Los Angeles Lakers’ rookies performed in the 22-23 season.
■ Draft: Max Christie
The Lakers selected Christie with the 35th overall pick in the NBA 2022 Draft in June.
At 6-foot-6, 190 pounds (198 cm, 86 kg), Christie was seen as a talent that could fill a need on the Lakers’ wing roster. After showing high defensive potential at the University of Michigan, Christie exposed his inaccurate outside shooting in Summer League and felt like a long-term project.
But as he gradually got more and more opportunities in garbage time, Christie turned people’s concerns into expectations. He averaged 3.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 41.9 percent shooting from three-point range (1.5 attempts) and 87.5 percent from the free throw line (0.4 attempts) in 12.5 minutes per game in 22-23. In particular, Christie, who stepped on the court for four consecutive games starting on Nov. 8 last year, showed off his reliable outside shooting ability and defensive prowess, which have always been his strengths.
Although he was sent down to the G-League for the second half of the season, Christie used the time to work on his upper body and core muscles, an effort that will likely be noticed by defense-minded head coach Darvin Hamm. It will be interesting to see if Christie can play effective defense against NBA-caliber wings.
Undrafted: Scottie Pippen Jr.
The Lakers created a buzz among fans when they signed undrafted guard Scottie Pippen Jr. as a free agent last summer.
As the son of Scottie Pippen, a six-time champion and one of the greatest defenders in league history, Pippen Jr. was highly anticipated, but unlike his father, he was more of a project. However, Pippen Jr. developed a lot in the G League after Summer League, averaging 21.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.6 steals on 46.9% shooting from the field.
Still a question mark from beyond the arc, Pippen Jr. has made remarkable strides in his passing and ball-protecting dribbling, and he’s improved his ability to get to the free throw line after a breakout. He’s also shown flashes of brilliance on defense, but he’ll now need to figure out how to compensate for his below-average agility in the NBA.
Undrafted Shooter: Cole Swider
The Lakers have tried to find limited resources in free agency and the trade market to address their perennial three-point shooting woes.
Last summer, the Lakers signed undrafted free agent Cole Swider. Swider is a project, but he seemed to have some potential with enough work.먹튀검증
After spending most of this season in the G League, Swider averaged 17.1 points per game on 50.6% shooting from the field and 43.6% from three-point range. Most notably, he poured in a career-high 37 points against the Iowa Wolves in February.
Swender, like Pippen Jr. is a concern because he is below the NBA average in terms of quickness. However, if he develops into a three-point specialist against second units, we could see him in the NBA next season.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are reportedly mulling over whether to exercise their 17th pick in the NBA 2023 draft or use it as a trade resource.