Like the 2022 NBA Draft overall, Los Angeles Lakers had a busy, if not chaotic, evening. They made one selection, then scooped up a handful of intriguing players — including two sons of NBA legends — afterward. Let's recap all the moves.

1) Max Christie

The Lakers' first move on Thursday was sending cash and a 2028 second-round pick to the Orlando Magic in exchange for the No. 35 selection. That the Lakers traded into the draft was no surprise — Rob Pelinka stated they would. After the draft, he said the Lakers targeted the early second round to create the possibility of landing a first-round talent, as Christie was on their board.

“We really think he’s a guy that if he would’ve chosen to go back to school, you’re talking about a guy that could’ve easily been in the top 20, top 15 of next year’s draft,” Pelinka said. “So to be able to get a player like that and develop him with the 35th pick is rare, and we’re really proud.”

The 6'5 wing never quite found a groove in his one season at Michigan State, but the tools are there. His IQ is through the roof, and his shooting stroke is picturesque. He impressed Tom Izzo with his innate comprehension of defense, and he (seemingly) carries zero character concerns (he crushed his Combine interview). Crucially, he thrives off the ball and can contribute in myriad ways without the rock. The Lakers need role players to fill in the gaps around stars and compete on D.

“I think the biggest thing is my ability to make shots and shoot the 3,” Christie told reporters after the draft. “I don’t think that was displayed very well at Michigan State. I think having a little bit of a reset coming into the NBA now, I think I’ll be able to display that at a better level.”

Los Angeles wanted a high-motor wing with 3-and-D potential. They got one.

The lone source of skepticism regarding the pick is whether the 19-year-old can contribute right away as LeBron James hits Season 20. At a lean 190 pounds, Christie will need to muscle up before his NBA debut.

“He's got to get stronger,” Pelinka acknowledged. “He knows that and that's something we talked about in our interview with him. But he's gonna get out here early and start to put in the work with our Lakers strength staff and I think he's got the ability to really move his feet, probably guard three positions. He's got long arms. You can kind of project forward what you think a kid's build will be and he's got a good frame on him. And he likes the weight room, that's a question we ask him. So I hate to put a timeline on it…but he's got a great frame, a great basketball set of skills and I think he'll develop quickly.”


Christie will likely be a part of the 15-man roster when 2022-23 tips off, though that could change should the Lakers opt to two-way him and let him bloom in South Bay.

2) Cole Swider

Swider was the only player the Lakers hosted for two pre-draft visits. According to Kyle Goon of the Orange Country Register, Swider's shooting stroke turned heads in a recent workout in Los Angeles. The 6'9 forward shot 47.3% from deep on high-volume in his final year at Syracuse.

“I think the reason why I’m here is because of my shooting,” Swider said after his second Lakers workout. “And obviously my size and I think my rebound will translate to the NBA level. I think my shooting will translate immediately. It’s all about just playing within myself. Playing with guys like LeBron, AD, and Russ. They need guys like me for space.”

The Lakers gave Swider one of their two two-way contracts, per Shams, as they did with Austin Reaves post-draft last summer (they soon converted Reaves' deal to a standard two-year contract).

“One of the things that Cole Swider did when he came in for his workout is he showed he's a movement shooter, which is a rare skill,” Pelinka noted. “He can really fly off screens and bend the defense. I think he's not just a stationary catch-and-shoot guy, he's comfortable moving without the ball, cutting, getting out on the fastbreak and filling the corners as well. I would put him in the category of a guy who has the chance to become an elite shooter.”

3) Scotty Pippen Jr.

Pippen Jr. signed the other two-way deal, per Shams. The 6'3 sharpshooter lit it up in his final two years at Vanderbilt — 20.6 PPG, 4.6 APG, 1.9 SPG — though his limited athleticism, inconsistent shooting, and lack of height hurt his draft stock. Regardless, the Lakers love his tenacity and motor.

“He came in for a draft workout here and was one of the most competitive players that we had in the building, especially defensively; just really got after it,” Pelinka said.

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4) Shareef O'Neal

Shareef (Shaquille's son) will play for the Lakers Summer League squad, per The Athletic.

Against his father's wishes, O'Neal worked out for the Lakers a couple of days before the draft. Various health issues restricted his opportunities and production in three years in college (at UCLA then LSU), but he has explosive athleticism and an enticing defensive ceiling at 6’10, 220 pounds with a 7’0 wingspan.

If nothing else, it'll be fun to see another big man from the O'Neal family wearing purple-and-gold.

5) Fabian White Jr.

According to Ari Alexander of KRPC, the former Houston Cougars forward will sign an Exhibit-10 deal (essentially a training camp invite) and play for the Lakers in Summer League. White Jr. also conducted a pre-draft workout for the Lakers.

A 6'8 forward with a 7'0 wingspan, White Jr. averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in his fifth season at Houston. The Cougars went a remarkable 143-30 in his tenure. Never a bad idea to add winning, long wings.

“It means everything,” White Jr. said about getting a shot with the Lakers. “All the work I’ve put in has paid off. (Dealing with) the torn ACL, all the sprints I had to run, it all paid off.”

6) R.J. Cole

Finally, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors and Adam Zagoria reported that Cole — a senior point guard from UConn who worked out for the Lakers — will play Summer League for Los Angeles.

Cole averaged 14.3 points and 4.2 assists on 35.6% three-point shooting in two seasons for the Huskies after spending his first two years of D-1 ball at Howard (22.5 PPG/37% from 3).

7) Vitto Brown

On Friday afternoon, HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported that Vitto Brown, 26, will play Summer League for the Lakers. The former Wisconsin Badger averaged 11 points and four boards for Real Betis in Spain in 2021-22. The 6'8 power forward played on the Phoenix Suns Summer League squad in 2021.

8) Javante McCoy

Per Greg Levinsky, former Boston University guard Javante McCoy will join the Lakers on an Exhibit-10 contract, as well. The 6'5, 24-year-old averaged 17.4 PPG in his final season for the Terriers and shot 42.5% from deep.

So, based on my calculations, here's what 12/15 of the Lakers' Summer League roster could look like:

  • Max Christie
  • Cole Swider
  • Scotty Pippen Jr.
  • Shareef O'Neal
  • Fabian White Jr.
  • Vitto Brown
  • R.J. Cole
  • Javante McCoy
  • Jay Huff
  • Mac McClung
  • Mason Jones
  • Austin Reaves

If Reaves plays (still TBD), the Lakers should field an exciting unit in Vegas (here's the schedule).