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Bench potential: Can Svi Mykhailiuk make an impact with the Raptor reserves?

Photo Credit: Zach Beeker/Getty Images

Joining his fourth team in as many seasons, Svi Mykhailiuk will look to provide scoring off the bench for the Toronto Raptors this upcoming season. The 24 year-old wing joined the Raptors on a two-year contract last month after appearances with the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder in his first three seasons in the NBA.

Mykhailiuk entered the league as a sharpshooter who would be able to produce off the bench with his three-point shooting. However, his ability to space the floor and provide a scoring spark off the bench has been inconsistent at best in his first three seasons in the association.

Since being selected by the Lakers in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft, Mykhailiuk has struggled with his shot, especially from beyond the arc. In 164 career games, Mykhailiuk is shooting at a rate of 36 per cent on his attempts from downtown. He has seen many ups and downs during his short career, and the Raptors are hoping he can improve and be an important piece near the end of their bench.

Since his rookie year with the Lakers, Mykhailiuk has seen an increased workload in his time with Detroit and Oklahoma City – two teams who were near the bottom of the league in each of the past two seasons. Competing with several other reserves on the Raptors roster, including Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent, Yuta Watanabe and Dalano Banton, Mykhailiuk will have to boost his shooting percentages in order to earn the trust of Nick Nurse and continue to see an increased playing time.

Bench Presence

In 66 games split between the Pistons and Thunder last year, Mykhailiuk struggled with his shot. Through 36 games with Detroit, he averaged seven points on nearly 18 minutes per game, while shooting below 40 per cent from both the field and the three-point line.

Upon being traded to Oklahoma City, who gave minutes to several young players last year, Mykhailiuk was able to improve his shooting totals. Starting in nine games, averaging 23 minutes per game and shooting over 40 per cent from the field, Mykhailiuk was able to have some of the best totals of his career.

In the final half of the season, Mykhailiuk averaged over 10 points per game to go with three rebounds and nearly two assists.

While being able to space the floor and relying on his three point shot, with two-thirds of his field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc, Mykhailiuk was also able to improve on his talent close to the rim. This past year, he was able to use his size to attack defenders and drive to the rim, consistently improving his percentages close to the basket.

A career 36 per cent shooter from the three point line, the Raptors are banking on Mykhailiuk to improve on his shooting percentages this upcoming season.

Raptors Insider Stats Prediction

PTSREBASTSTLFG%3PT%
7.22.52.01.041.036.5

Season Objectives

Shooting percentage

Since joining the league from Ukraine, Mykhailiuk has been known for his sharpshooting. Having over 40 starts in his NBA career and playing in 164 games, he saw some improvement in Oklahoma last year.

While looking like a safe bet to make the team, Svi will need to continue this trend in order to earn the trust of Nick Nurse and gain consistent minutes within his system.

After a career high 115 three pointers made in the 2019-20 season with the Pistons, Mykhailiuk regressed in his next season with both the Pistons and Thunder. On nearly 30 more attempts this past season split between the two teams, Mykhailiuk made only 105 three-pointers this, shooting 33 per cent, near the bottom of the league by frequent shooters from beyond the arc.

Signed by the Raptors to provide a spark off the bench, Mykhailiuk will be able to space the floor but must improve on his efficiency.

He has flashed his potential in various games throughout his three-year career, scoring a career high 25 points in 2020 and leading the Oklahoma City Thunder with 22 points when they beat the Raptors in March of this past year.

The Raptors will hope that Mykhailiuk will return to his 2019 form with the Pistons, where he started in 27 games and posted his highest efficiency from the three-point line, while averaging nine points, the highest he has averaged in a full season.

While focusing on youth and development, Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse will hope that the young wing can blossom into a pivotal scoring piece off of the Raptors bench this upcoming season. With many players in that mix, Mykhailiuk has his work cut out for him, but should feel safe with his status on the team, after signing a guaranteed contract this offseason, as we head into training camp, just one week away.

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