Cam Christie Might be the Steal of the 2024 NBA Draft… but Word is Getting Out

Cam Christie, Minnesota Gophers, NBA Draft
Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cam Christie is one of the best freshman to ever put on a Minnesota Gopher basketball uniform. This week, either on June 26th or 27th, he will become one of the youngest Gophers ever taken in an NBA Draft.

Cam Christie, at 18 years old (turns 19 in July), is one of the youngest players in this draft class, but he made a strong impression during his first and only year with the Golden Gophers. He showcased his shooting skills by hitting 39% from the three-point line.

Is Minnesota Gophers Guard Cam Christie the Most Underrated Player in the 2024 NBA Draft?

cam christie minnesota gophers ben johnson
Credit: Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Arlington Heights (IL) native started 26 games in Minnesota, appeared in a total of 33, where he averaged 11.3 points per game. Cam is the younger brother of Lakers guard, Max Christie, and was always seen as less talented than his older sibling.

That is why he floated under the high school recruiting radar for so long. allowing Ben Johnson to swoop in and steal a kid who ended up as one of the best freshman in the entire country last season, and now, a possible 1st round pick before he turns 19.

Leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft, Christie is flying under the radar yet again. But one draft expert, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony isn’t fooled. On Saturday, he listed Cam Christie as THE underrated shooting guard of this rookie class.

Christie missed the beginning of the season while recovering from mononucleosis, but stood out during Big Ten action, playing outstanding basketball over the final two months of the season. He was likely overlooked to an extent as few projected the skinny, three-star recruit to emerge as a possible one-and-done first-rounder, despite establishing himself as one of the best freshman shooters in college basketball while also playing top-notch defenses on a nightly basis.

At 6-foot-6 in shoes and with an impressive 190-pound frame that should carry bulk nicely in the long term, Christie’s dynamic shot-making stands out for his age. He ranks as one of the best off-the-dribble shooters in this class, converting 39% of his pull-ups on the season. He also showed some ability initiating out of pick-and-roll, being tasked with more ballhandling responsibility this season than one might expect, helping him develop into more than just a big-time shooter.

Jonathan Givony – ESPN

Givony suggests that Christie is likely to be considered in the late first round of the draft, and if not, he could easily be picked early in the second round. The main concern for teams, according to him, revolves around Christie’s age he’s only 18 and his limited college experience of just one year.

What stuck out about Cam from the very beginning of the Minnesota Gophers’ 2023-24 season was, as Givony notes, his ability to shoot the ball, not just from everywhere on the court, but at any time. Off the dribble, off the catch, in the lane… it doesn’t matter, Cam Christie can get his shot just about whenever he wants, and at a very high success rate.

It’s a skill that not even a lot of NBA players possess, which is why teams are thinking about taking a flyer on his ridiculously high ceiling, even though he’s only 18 years old, with an underdeveloped body that probably isn’t ready for the league yet. Here is Givony’s projection for Cam this week.

Projection: Christie is getting looks from almost every team drafting in the 20s, but there are scenarios in which he falls into the 30s (or the second round) because of concerns about his readiness to help a team early in his NBA career, especially on the defensive end where he struggles with his thin frame. Whichever team drafts him will need to take a long-term view of his development in the next three to five years, and not necessarily what he is right now — which is, in many ways, the essence of the draft.

Jonathan Givony – ESPN

Related: Hometown Former Gophers Basketball Player is Going Pro… in Boxing

Christie earned a spot on the all-freshman team at the end of the season and was recognized as freshman of the week twice throughout the year. Will he eventually become a better pro player than his brother, Max, who averaged 14 minutes per game last season with the Los Angeles Lakers?

That’s what teams right around where the Minnesota Timberwolves are picking at No. 27 are trying to figure out. The first round of the NBA Draft is on Wednesday night, the second round will take place on Thursday.

Over the past two decades, only two Gophers players have been drafted, with Daniel Oturu being the most recent, selected at No. 33 in 2020. Kris Humphries was the last to go in the first round, picked at No. 14 back in 2004.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: