The Los Angeles Lakers selected Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 47 overall pick.
Mykhailiuk was once considered one of the best young prospects in Europe. He arrived at Kansas when he was only 17, and he had already played for the Ukrainian national team by that point. His first two years at Kansas were disappointing, but he started the last two years and was one of the best shooters in college basketball this past season, knocking down 115 threes while shooting 44.4 percent from deep. Mykhailiuk has a high basketball IQ and is seasoned after playing four years under Kansas head coach Bill Self, but age is still on his side, as he just turned 21 on June 10.
Weight: 211.6 pounds
Pro-player comparison: Nik Stauskas
Mykhailiuk's biggest asset is his ability to shoot the ball. He has a quick release, and his mechanics are picture-perfect. He was miscast as a shooter early in his career. When he played for Ukraine, he was a playmaker on the wing, showing vision and creativity off the bounce similar to Luka Doncic. But once he got to Kansas, he was moved off the ball and was a spot-up shooter.
That role evolved this past season when he did do more off the bounce—although not with the same pizzazz as earlier in his career—and he was excellent in catch-and-shoot situations.
Mykhailiuk is also a solid shooter off the bounce, but he was at his best when Kansas was able to generate catch-and-shoot looks on the perimeter. The Jayhawks played small-ball the last two seasons and ran a lot of NBA-like sets. This past season, that involved getting Mykhailiuk more on the move to create shooting opportunities, whether that was running him off screens or using him as a ball screener for Devonte' Graham, which Kansas used as a go-to set to get Mykhailiuk an open three by faking the screen and quickly spotting up.
Graham and Mykhailiuk had terrific chemistry, and some of the passing and playmaking that made him so intriguing as a younger prospect returned. He not only is lethal as a spot-up shooter, but he can attack a closeout and is smart to hunt for the best shot. He's also a willing passer. This possession below is one of the best illustrations of that—a brilliant display of unselfish basketball that shows the feel Mykhailiuk has for the game.
It's difficult to imagine a player with such a pure jump shot could shoot 28.8 percent from three-point range for a season, but Mykhailiuk did just that. His jumper has drastically improved since then, but a big reason for his early struggles was a lack of confidence. Even as a senior, he had some episodes of his confidence wavering. He usually bounced back more quickly, but it is a concern for his NBA outlook, as his survival in the league will likely come down to his ability to consistently knock down shots.
Mykhailiuk is a better athlete than presumed—he finished middle-of-the-pack in most of the NBA combine agility testing and had a solid 37-inch max vertical—but he does lack some explosion around the rim. He also wasn't a great finisher, having made only 52 percent of his shots at the basket as a senior, per Hoop-Math.com.
Mykhailiuk is able to finish with both hands. His left hand is so strong, in fact, that he'll sometimes practice shooting threes with it. He shoots with impressive accuracy and a natural-looking stroke. But because he's so comfortable with his left hand, he has a tendency to attempt some difficult shots with his off hand around the rim, which is part of the problem.
Mykhailiuk was a weak link of Kansas' defense during his junior season, and it was common for opponents to seek him out and attack him in isolation. He looked slow laterally, and if the Jayhawks tried to hide him on a big man, he'd get abused in the post.
Part of the problem was he had put on too much weight. Last summer, he adjusted his diet and ended up losing a lot of the weight by accident when he was sick. When he got healthy again, he noticed that he was lighter on his feet and tried to stay somewhere between 205 and 207 pounds, down from 225.
The difference was noticeable on defense this past season. He went from one of the worst perimeter defenders on Kansas' roster to one of the best. Mykhailiuk has a good sense for where to be on the floor, and his improved lateral quickness helped him keep the ball in front of him. He also finished with a career-best 1.2 steals per game.
Mykhailiuk has good size for a wing, but that's somewhat negated by his negative wingspan. Still, Mykhailiuk is a battler and showed some toughness that was appreciated in the KU program.
That was most evident in the Elite Eight win against Duke, when he was tasked with guarding Marvin Bagley and held the Duke star to 16 points, employing a butt-front defense that made it difficult for Bagley to get the ball where he wanted it in the post. Mykhailiuk also had 10 rebounds in that game, and a much smaller Kansas lineup outrebounded Duke, the best offensive rebounding team in the country, by 22 boards. That ability to scrap and do whatever it takes helped one of the least-talented Kansas squads in recent memory get to a Final Four.
Projected role: Second-unit wing
As long as the confident version of Mykhailiuk shows up in the NBA, coaches will be able to trust him because of his shooting and basketball intelligence. He has his limitations, but the guy is a knockdown shooter and knows how to play the game the right way. He rarely does something to hurt his team. To get his level of shooting and experience at the age of 21 is promising.