The Los Angeles Lakers introduced two of their three new rookies, Moritz Wagner and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, on Tuesday. Isaac Bonga, who the Lakers selected after trading for the No. 39 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, can’t be officially introduced until the new CBA year starts on July 6.
Wagner will garner the most interest of the three rookies because he was taken in the first round, but 21-year-old Mykhailiuk is arguably the most NBA ready rookie on the Lakers’ roster.
Before committing to the University of Kansas in 2014, the Ukrainian guard played professionally in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague and with the Ukrainian national team. However, Mykhailiuk felt his bet to make the NBA was through the NCAA.
“I think I was thinking about taking a new challenge because I had been in playing in Europe for a long time and then I think I saw a college game on TV back home and I thought it was fun,” Mykhailiuk said in his introductory press conference. “Also, I was trying to go to the NBA. I think, for me, it was better to go to college then the NBA and I chose Kansas, one of the greatest schools, and I think it was a great choice for me.”
Mykhailiuk spent four years with the Jayhawks, where he put up career averages of 8.7 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting from the field, including an impressive 40.9 percent from behind the arc.
In his senior year at Kansas, Mykhailiuk converted 44 percent of his 121 three-point attempts, which was good enough to lead the Big 12 in three-point percentage. He also finished second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made last season.
But Mykhailiuk is condifent he can offer more than just shooting at the next level. Despite having a negative wingspan (6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-4 wingspan), Mykhailiuk believes he showed he can defend multiple positions while playing under Kansas head coach Bill Self.
“When I was at Kansas, I was playing [positions] 1-4 on defense the last three years because we had a lot of good guards and we were short on bigs, so I had to switch a lot. For me, the adjustment is going to be pretty easy because I used to play a lot,” Mykhailiuk said.
Mykhailiuk will get plenty of opportunities to show his skills on both sides of the floor at summer league, especially since team president Magic Johnson said that second-year shooting guard Josh Hart will only play in a handful of games this summer. The Lakers will play in their first summer league game at the California Classic Tournament in Sacramento, which tips off Sunday, July 1.
As the No. 47 pick in the draft, expectations for Mykhailiuk will be relatively low. However, we’ve seen players make names for themselves at summer league in the past like Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and most recently Kyle Kuzma. If Mykhailiuk’s shots starts falling right away, fans are going to learn how to pronounce his name sooner than later.
You can follow Christian on Twitter @RadRivas.