When Luke Kennard went down with a knee injury, it put the Detroit Pistons in a precarious place. But, Svi Mykhailiuk answered when he was called upon.
Luke Kennard was in the midst of a breakout season. After two years of being “the guy taken before Donovan Mitchell”, Kennard had finally found his groove, averaging 16 points per game while shooting 40% from behind the arc. His impact on the court was finally being felt after two years in which he did not make any major contributions to the team.
Then, the injury bug once again plagued the struggling Detroit Pistons.
On December 26, when the Detroit Pistons announced that Kennard was going to miss significant time with left knee tendonitis, many people were worried about who would fill that gap of production left. Who was going to start for the Pistons? Would Bruce Brown or Langston Galloway take on more of the load? It seemed that another light during the Pistons season had faded.
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To start this year, Mykhailiuk was not a part of coach Dwane Casey’s regular rotation and struggled to get playing time, only playing in one of the team’s first eight games. But as the season progressed, Mykhailiuk started to earn more time as a part of the nightly rotation. After Kennard went down, Svi has started in 15 of the Pistons 19 games, but his stats greatly show how he took full advantage to work on his game.
Before Kennard went down, Mykhailiuk played 16.5 minutes per game, scored 5.6 points per game. He shot 39% from the field and 40% from three. After Kennard was sidelined all of those numbers have improved handsomely.
Mykhailiuk is now playing 29.2 minutes each contest while scoring 13.4 points and shooting 46% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc. He has finally been given a shot to prove his worth, and it seems he may have given another glimpse of hope on the Pistons roster.
Obviously, Mykhailiuk’s stats have clearly gotten higher due to the increase in minutes with Kennard out and they will most likely subside once Kennard eventually returns. But this time proved something important for a team that is rebuilding. Mykhailiuk may not be a player with All-Star potential like Kennard. Regardless, the Detroit Pistons have found a player who helped fill the void today and someone who will become one of the core rotational players going forward.