In recent years, the Los Angeles Lakers have enjoyed great success finding talent late in the draft. While it might be a little early to call former Kansas University standout Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk a steal, he’s certainly looked the part thus far.
Through seven games at the NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas, the 21-year-old shooting guard averaged 10 points per game while draining 40.3 percent of his 87 total three-point attempts. The Klay Thompson comparisons are premature (and unfair), but he was shooting the lights out at the Thomas and Mack Center in July.
Sure, one can argue that it was “just Summer League,” but his shot mechanics and footwork look like they’re going to translate to the next level, and his peers seems to agree.
According to the annual NBA Rookie Survey released by NBA.com, Mykhailiuk received the second-most votes for “best shooter” in the 2018 NBA Draft, only trailing Trae Young out of Oklahoma and tying Kevin Huerter out of Maryland. Both Young and Huerter were first round picks, while Mykhailiuk was the No. 47 pick.
Mykhailiuk also received votes for “steal of the draft” along with his teammate Moritz Wagner. Isaac Bonga, who the Lakers took with the No. 39 pick, did not receive a single vote in any of the categories.
Bonga will spend most, if not all, of his rookie season in the G League with the South Bay Lakers. Mykhailiuk and Wagner, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to crack head coach Luke Walton’s rotation this season.
The Lakers are going to need shooting from wherever they can find it this season after failing to address that issue in free agency. If Wagner and Mykhailiuk can get their shots to fall early on, they will be in better shape than a good chunk of the Lakers’ roster.
However, in order for the two rookies to stay on the floor, they’re going to have to show they can hold their own on defense as well. Both of them showed promise in their limited action during Summer League, but they’ll likely struggle with the physicality of the NBA, as most rookies do.
We won’t know for certain how much the new crop of Lakers rookies can help until training camp, but the fact that this is an even a conversation is promising.
Hurry back soon, NBA.
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