Second-year pro, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, was brought over last season in the deal that saw Reggie Bullock join the Lakers for half a season. Bullock has since moved on, signing with the New York Knicks. “Svi” as he is called by most fans, is looking to stake his claim in the Pistons rotation.
The 6’8″ guard/forward from Kansas was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 47th pick of last year’s NBA Draft. On a Lakers squad that struggled to find their identity, Mykhailiuk featured in 39 games for the Purple and Gold. In that 39 game stint, he averaged 10.8 minutes per contest. He struggled to connect from deep, something he excelled in at Kansas. Mykhailiuk only shot 31.8% from behind the long line and 33.3% from the field. For a player who shot just under 41% from three in college, the lack of efficiency was surprising.
Evidently, the Lakers didn’t see Mykhailiuk as a part of their long term plans as they sent the Ukrainian and a 2021 second-round pick to the Motor City for the aforementioned Reggie Bullock. Once in Detroit, Svi rarely saw the floor. In fact, the former Jayhawk only appeared in three games as a Piston. Mykhailiuk also appeared in 8 games with the Grand Rapids Drive.
In his 8 games with the Drive, Mykhailiuk displayed his scoring prowess averaging 23.5 points a contest. Any signs of his inconsistent shooting with LA were not present when he played in Grand Rapids. While with the Drive, Svi shot 40% from deep and 45.6% from the floor on average. He also flashed some promise as a playmaker, tallying three assists per contest.
This past summer, Svi showed up in Las Vegas with a point to prove. Throughout the Summer League, he showed the strides he had made in his development. Mykhailiuk was one of the leaders on the Pistons Summer League squad, averaging 28 minutes per game. Only Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown edged him out, with their average minutes coming in at 28.1.
Mykhailiuk was second on the team in assists, averaging 4.2 per game. His ability to handle the ball and create plays made him a focal point of the offense. Although he made a few careless turnovers, Svi showed he wasn’t afraid to take chances on the floor. He played fearlessly and was a major reason why the Pistons Summer League team played so well.
His numbers may not have jumped off the sheet during the summer, but Svi proved he could facilitate on the court and create offense. Although he only shot 32.4% from three, he showed improvement in other facets of his game. His 6’5″ wingspan raised questions about his future as a defender at the professional level, but Mykhailiuk displayed quick feet and solid instincts on the floor.
Even though 32.4% from behind the long line may seem alarming, Mykhailiuk’s shot is not something that needs to be worried about. He has shown at both Kansas and Grand Rapids that he can score from deep consistently. Not to mention, Dwane Casey has already talked about how well he is shooting in training camp.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has shown that he belongs at the professional level. His development over the summer was very encouraging and his style of play fits well in Coach Casey’s offense. However, chances at the professional level may not be readily available for him.
The current Pistons depth chart at both shooting guard and small forward are deep. Mykhailiuk is likely to fall within the confines of those two positions. His competition for minutes includes Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Joe Johnson and more.
It will be interesting to see what training camp will do for Mykhailiuk in terms of where he will land on the depth chart. It sounds as though, he is off to a good start. Hopefully, strong play leading into the season will push him a little higher up the depth chart. He has the tools to contribute at the professional level and the fit is there for him in Detroit. As it stands right now, Mykhailiuk has a lot to prove going into this season.
Featured Image: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press