The emergence of Svi Mykhailiuk may have made Luke Kennard expendable for the Detroit Pistons. But is he the better prospect?
The injury to Luke Kennard has opened the door for second-year player Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and he has taken advantage. Mykhailiuk has played so well that rumors are now circulating that the Pistons are considering offers for Kennard.
This is an interesting development, as Kennard seemed poised to be part of the Pistons’ core moving forward and Mykhailiuk started the season outside of the rotation. It is unclear if the Pistons are that high on Mykhailiuk or just concerned about Kennard’s inability to stay on the floor after the shooting guard has missed 22 games with knee tendonitis. Either way, Kennard and Mykhailiuk have some overlapping abilities that may eventually make one of them redundant, even if the Pistons don’t move Kennard before the deadline.
Coming into this season there was no question that Kennard was the best young player on the roster, but Mykhailiuk has made the case that he is actually the better prospect going forward. Is Mykhailiuk a better long-term bet than Kennard?
Let’s break it down.
Both Kennard and Mykhailiuk have flashed deadly shooting ability. Kennard is a career 40.2% 3-point shooter and Mykhailiuk is hitting a scorching 42.5% in his first full season of action, which is good for 13th overall in the NBA. Mykhailiuk is taller and has a slightly quicker release, which means he needs less space to get off a shot. As a 3-point shooter, Mykhailiuk has a slight edge.
Kennard is certainly a better playmaker, and was really coming on as a passer before his injury. Kennard raised his assist average to 4.1 per game, while Mykhailiuk is more of pure shooter, getting only 1.7 assists per game.
Kennard is more creative with the ball and better at getting into the lane for shots or passes, though Mykhailiuk has flashed occasional ability to get to the rim. As a playmaker, Kennard has an advantage, though it is probably not as large as people think.
At this point in their respective careers Kennard is still the better all-around offensive player, but Mykhailiuk has proven himself to be an accurate, high-volume 3-point shooter and has two inches of height on Kennard, which may make him the more intriguing wing prospect going forward.
Slight Advantage: Kennard