Darvin Ham’s head-scratching comments on Max Christie’s lack of playing time vs. Suns

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham explained why guard Max Christie didn’t see much playing time against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

The Lakers lost to the Suns 123-113, dropping the team to 31-28 on the season. Los Angeles also fell behind the Golden State Warriors (pending the result of Golden State’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday) in the Western Conference standings.

Ham shared that big man Anthony Davis’ early foul trouble altered his plans for the rotation against Phoenix.

Christie ended up playing just 5:10 of game time on Sunday, finishing the game with three points (1-for-2 shooting from beyond the arc) and one assist.

It’s strange to see Christie play so little, as he had gotten over 10 minutes of playing time in each of the last eight games that he appeared in. The young Lakers guard only played more minutes than Skylar Mays and Dylan Windler among active Lakers players on Sunday.

While Davis getting in foul trouble certainly wasn’t something that Ham planned on, it is curious that the Lakers coach struggled to find time for Christie when Davis ended up playing over 41 minutes on Sunday.

Instead, Ham rolled with Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie as his primary guards in the rotation against the Suns.

Dinwiddie struggled against Phoenix, shooting just 1-for-5 from the field and scoring three points in 23:26 of game time.

With several players banged up, Ham’s rotation was extremely short on Sunday. The Lakers only played seven players more than six minutes of the game on Sunday, with Christie and Jaxson Hayes both playing sparingly off the bench.

Christie hasn’t had a massive role for the Lakers this season, but he’s been playing well when given his chances. The former second-round pick is averaging 5.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3-point range.

Hopefully, Ham can find more ways to get Christie on the floor, especially with the Lakers lacking a ton of 3-point threats in the rotation at the moment with players like Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent sidelined.

Los Angeles would certainly benefit from having players that can space the floor next to LeBron James and Davis.

For now, the Lakers hold the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference, but they could climb back into the No. 9 spot if Golden State comes up short on Sunday.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.