Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, often known as Svi, has had a busy start to his first few months in the professional ranks and as that time has progressed the Ukrainian sharpshooter has grown accustomed to life in the NBA. Looking more confident on and off the court, Mykhailiuk is slowing carving his way into the Lakers’ rotation for years to come.
Mykhailiuk was drafted by the Lakers with the 47th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, with the Lakers president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, being a huge fan of Mykhailiuk’s game in college. The Lakers legend was particularly impressed with his performance for the Kansas Jayhawks against Duke in the 2018 NCAA Elite Eight. Where Svi hit a late three-pointer to take the game into overtime, a game that Kansas went onto win to advance to the Final Four.
Unfortunately for Mykhailiuk and Kansas, they were eliminated by the Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 NCAA Final Four. Nevertheless, Mykhailiuk had an impressive time during his four years at Kansas, shooting an eye-catching .409% from three-point range. In his senior year, Svi averaged 14.6 points per game, along with 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 steals, on .428% shooting. This was enough to draw the interest of several NBA teams, including the Lakers who ultimately drafted Mykhailiuk and signed him to a three-year, $4.6 million rookie scale contract.
Svi Mykhailiuk has had quite a journey to the NBA. Born in Cherkasy, Ukraine on June 10th, 1997, Mykhailiuk attended high school at Cherkasy First City Gymnasia. In 2012, Svi joined his local professional basketball team, Cherkaski Mavpy who play in the Ukrainian Super League. Over time, Mykhailiuk drew national interest and represented Ukraine at the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championships, averaging 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. This was enough for All-Tournament honours.
This earned Mykhailiuk a call-up to the senior national team where he competed at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Mykhailiuk then received numerous offers to play college basketball in the United States, from Virginia, Iowa State, Oregon, and Kansas. With the latter being Svi’s preferred destination. The promising Ukrainian prospect represented his country again at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championships, and led his team with 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game, through seven games.
The 6-foot-8 shooter represented the Ukrainian under-20 team again at the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championships, leading the entire tournament with 20.4 points per game. With his impressive showing during his final year at Kansas, it was time for Svi to take his talents to the NBA where he lit up the 2018 NBA Summer League over seven pre-season games, averaging 16.6 points, on .488% shooting. He went on to make his debut on October 22nd, 2018 against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring no points and recording one assist in 17 minutes.
It has been a relatively slow start for the 21-year-old in Los Angeles, who struggled to find playing time in the first two months of the season. However, in December we have seen flashes of why Magic Johnson was so high on the deadeye shooter coming out of Kansas. Svi has twice scored double-digits, in wins against the Memphis Grizzlies (11 pts, 3 reb) and Charlotte Hornets (12 pts, 1 reb, 4 ast).
Much like Isaac Bonga, as stated in our previous ‘Meet The Rookies’ post, Mykhailiuk is obviously a player that the Lakers are prepared to take their time with. As they look to develop a floor spacing catch-and-shoot three-point specialist to the roster. Keep an eye on this one, as it is only a matter of time before Mykhailiuk finds his shot and has a breakout game.
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By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)