On the night of the 2018 NBA Draft, Moe Wagner was considered a reach by many, while others weren’t sure if Svi Mykhailiuk could do anything but shoot. Now, both have been give votes by NBA GMs as the “steal of the draft,” with Mykhailiuk getting 7 percent of the vote in the NBA’s Annual GM survey, while Wagner also picked up a vote or two, according to NBA.com:
1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11), LA Clippers – 27%
2. Svi Mykhailiuk (47), L.A. Lakers – 13%
2. Wendell Carter Jr. (7), Chicago – 10%
Michael Porter Jr. (14), Denver – 10%
Gary Trent Jr. (37), Portland – 10%
6. Luka Doncic (3), Dallas – 7%
Kevin Knox (9), New York – 7%
Also receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton (1), Phoenix; Kevin Huerter (19), Atlanta; Omari Spellman (30), Atlanta; Moritz Wagner (25), L.A. Lakers; Lonnie Walker IV (18), San Antonio
Last year: Dennis Smith Jr. – 37%
The verdict won’t be in on either player for quite a while, but it will take even longer for Wagner, who will miss the entire preseason with a knee contusion he suffered in Las Vegas Summer League.
Mykhailiuk earned the second-best odds in this category with his play in Las Vegas, where he set nets ablaze to the tune of 48.3 percent shooting while knocking down 40.8 percent of his triples. He continued to impress during FIBA play for Ukraine, where he put up a 58.7 true-shooting percentage (field goal percentage that takes into account the extra value of threes).
Mykhailiuk also showed that he’s more than just a shooter over the summer, demonstrating impressive floor reads and better-than-advertised defensive chops, skills he hasn’t been able to translate as well over the Lakers’ two preseason games, but also things that shouldn’t be expected of a second-round rookie during their first real shot at NBA play. Patience will be necessary, as will the Lakers’ successful player development staff, but Mykhailiuk seems to have the right mentality and skillset to figure things out.
Still, the rest of the league’s decision makers being so high on Wagner and Mykhailiuk is high praise, although it should be noted that many of the league’s GMs also had multiple opportunities to put their money where their mouth is and actually select either Mykhailiuk or Wagner in the draft given how late both went in their respective rounds.
Still, this a good sign for an already strong Lakers young core that includes Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. If Mykhailiuk and Wagner can solidify themselves among those names — and some would argue Svi already has — then it would be huge for the Lakers moving forward, and another feather in the cap of their already well-regarded scouting department.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.