Svi Mykhailiuk is a hooper. Some guys play basketball, while other guys are basketball players. Svi is the latter. He faces a crowded Los Angeles Lakers wing rotation that will almost certainly limit his minutes as a rookie, but he has demonstrated a diverse skill set in Las Vegas that foreshadow a long NBA career when they’re accompanied by his abilities as a shooter.
While he isn’t quite on the same level, Svi’s performance this summer is reminiscent of the same event just one year ago, when Kyle Kuzma displayed the beautiful shotmaking and nimble footwork that he eventually rode to a First Team All-Rookie selection.
Sometimes summer league production is a mirage, but skills cannot be faked. You can either execute certain moves or you can’t. Svi has already shown that he has a few more tools in his toolbox than we realized.
Let’s take a closer look at the different facets of his game beyond his shooting.
Mykhailiuk plays with excellent pace on the pick & roll, dipping his front shoulder while utilizing hesitation moves that allow passing and driving lanes to develop. He isn’t much of a threat to get downhill but can get to the rack if the defense makes a mistake. He’s even shown the ability to change direction without the help of a screen, which has value in either getting to the rim or as a means of creating space for his jumper.
Unlike many knockdown shooters, Svi has some value as an athlete, mainly when he’s able to jump off of both feet. Most teams crash the offensive boards from the weak-side corner and/or wing, and he’s shown off some hops while earning extra possessions for the Lakers.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by him on the defensive end as well. Miles Simon has been talking about his ability to slide his feet, and Svi has shown that on more than a few occasions.
Mykhailiuk is also rarely out of position as a help defender - which isn’t common for a rookie perimeter defender - and excels at stripping ball-handlers while stunting (foot jabs) when he’s one pass away.
Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, and Lance Stephenson probably begin the season ahead of Svi Mykhailiuk on the depth chart, which will make his opportunities scare. But they’re coming, and he’s a good bet to take advantage of them when they do. This kid can play.