Editor’s Note: Last week, we debuted our Silver Screen and Roll staff rankings of the most interesting Lakers heading into next season (The 15 guaranteed contracts plus the two guys on two-way contracts). Today we have No. 11, Svi Mykhailiuk, and will be counting down to the Laker we think is most interesting with a new piece each weekday until we hit No. 1.
On the very first possession of the Sacramento Summer League, Moe Wagner used his quick hands to strip his man, and the Lakers got out in transition. Svi Mykhailiuk filled the wing, caught the pass from Xavier Rathan-Mayes, collected his feet, and rose up for a clean toe-on-the-line jumper. It was an appropriate harbinger for what was to come over the course of the next two weeks.
For the first time in NBA history, the Lakers boast three of the Top 10 assist men from the previous season, but someone needs to finish those opportunities. Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram are quality scorers who will improve as they age, JaVale McGee is an above-the-rim threat, and Michael Beasley is a certified bucket-getter, but the Lakers are short on players who can just flat-out shoot.
We don’t usually think of shooting through the lens of versatility, but it’s an appropriate descriptor for Svi. It’s one thing to knock down an open, catch-and-shoot three with your feet set, and it’s quite another to hit a three off of a down screen, after catching the ball with your hips facing the sideline, and pivoting and/or twisting in mid-air as you shoot.
Let’s take a closer look at how Mykhailiuk’s advanced shooting repertoire allows him to capitalize on the opportunities that his shot-creating teammates will provide.
Luke Walton mentioned last season that he essentially has two different playbooks: One for the starters, and one for his second unit. It’s an intriguing approach in ideal conditions, but when the grind of the season inevitably sidelines players due to injury, it can have the sub-optimal effect of putting others in unfamiliar positions. Svi is the only other player on the Lakers who can credibly fill the role that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plays, allowing for greater continuity between units.
The Lakers have a crowded wing rotation, with Caldwell-Pope, Ingram, Kuzma, Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson, and LeBron James as viable options. But they would be wise to put politics and draft position aside and give Mykhailiuk a chance to finish the plays that the shot creators start, and whether they do or not will be just one more interesting thing to watch with this team.
The countdown so far:
11. Svi Mykhailiuk
12. JaVale McGee
13. Isaac Bonga
14. Lance Stephenson
15. Luol Deng
16. Alex Caruso
17. Travis Wear