Detroit Pistons: Svi Mykhailiuk will show off his elite skill in the Rising Stars Game

Detroit Pistons Svi Mykhailiuk. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Svi Mykhailiuk. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons wing Svi Mykhailiuk has unlocked an elite skill that could give him a lengthy NBA career. It’ll be on display in the Rising Stars Game.

When the Los Angeles Lakers traded Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to the Detroit Pistons for Reggie Bullock, they probably didn’t expect to see Mykhailiuk play in the Rising Stars Game one year later.

Mykhailiuk, in his second year out of Kansas, was selected 47th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft and struggled in 39 games with the Lakers. He averaged 3.3 points in 10.8 minutes per game with shooting splits of .333/.318/.600. After the trade, he played 20 minutes in three games with Detroit.

He’s looked like a different player in his second season, unleashing a 3-point barrage on the entire league. He’s shooting 42.2% on 3-point attempts this season, which is 10th among players with at least 200 attempts this season.

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There are five players in the Rising Stars Game in the top 81 in 3-point percentage with at least 200 attempts and Mykhailiuk has the field beat by 2.9% or better. Tyler Herro has drawn the attention of fans, media and players but he sits 26th. Herro’s teammate Kendrick Nunn has been impressive and is well behind Mykhailiuk. One of the NBA’s blossoming stars, Trae Young, is behind the Pistons’ sharpshooter, too.

Devonte’ Graham was also a second round pick and has blossomed with the Charlotte Hornets. He’s in the most-improved conversation and has improved his 3-point percentage by 9.3% — a similar year-over-year gain to Mykhailiuk — but is shooting 37.4% on 9.4 attempts per game.

The Pistons have playmakers that create shots for other, like Mykhailiuk. He’s been a beneficiary of playing alongside Derrick Rose, Bruce Brown and, as of late, Reggie Jackson. Mykhailiuk is converting 43.4% of catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts. Herro is a tick better at 45.5% on such attempts.

Those skills will be easily unlocked playing alongside playmakers in Luka Doncic and cousins Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. It’s a great opportunity for the Pistons’ wing to prove to people why he’s blossoming and belongs among the rising stars.

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Mykhailiuk, 22, has been one of the bright spots on a young Pistons team that has been ravaged by injuries. He’s blossomed into a role due to Luke Kennard missing the last 26 games due to knee tendinitis. He seems to be a building block for the future, a nice return for an expiring contract in a deadline deal a season ago.

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But he has to take the next step in his progression to unlock another element of his game. At 6-foot-7, he has the ability to become a two-way player but also improve with the ball in his hands. Improving his ball-handling will allow to create shots for himself off the bounce, which he’s already solid at filling lanes in transition and attacking closeouts.

After acquiring Mykhailiuk, Pistons coach Dwane Casey said he envisioned him as a point guard one day. With 4.0 of his 4.9 3-point attempts per game coming without a dribble, Mykhailiuk could become a more complete scorer and unlock passing opportunities.

His elite catch-and-shoot skills give him staying power in the league. The steps he takes this summer to develop his game are as important as the confidence he built with his shooting stroke.

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