This offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have been getting all the attention and publicity. The frenzy will only grow as the season opens in less than a month.
Throughout the media interviews, which are now occurring on a daily basis and at a national telecast level, all the buzz have been centered around LeBron James, the young core and the exotic signings that Rob Pelinka made this summer. Little do we know that there is a gem that has quietly entered the league.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, remember the name. A Ukrainian basketball player drafted at number 47, this is a low-key, no frills kind of player.
Few know that Svi (the name that Lakers teammates call him) has played professional basketball way earlier than most draftees from the 2018 NBA draft.
Svi played in the Ukrainian Super League with Cherkaski Mavpy from 2012 to 2014.
Svi clocked impressive averages during his stint with the Ukrainian Under-16 junior national team in the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. He was selected to the All-Tournament Team, after completing an outstanding championship, averaging 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
Svi represented the junior national team in the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship in Helsinki. During the tournament, Svi led his team in scoring, at 14.9 points per game, hitting 36.8% of his field goals.
Svi Mykhailiuk made 47.2% from two, 19% from three-point territory, as well as an impressive 85.7% of his free throws. That's not it, his balanced game included 5.6 rebounds a game, 2.7 assists, 4.7 turnovers, and 2.1 steals per game.
In his second stint with the Ukrainian under-20 team in the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, Svi was the leading scorer of the tournament, averaging 20.4 points per game. What a thick resume to hold before entering college!
Svi moved on thereafter to the United States of America to pursue his tertiary education and seek opportunities for basketball. He joined the University of Kansas from 2014 to 2018.
Although his playing time was limited, he was able to display his prowess in the times he played. He set a school record for 3–pointers made in a season during the Jayhawks 2017–18 season with 115.
Svi was able to maintain his field goal percentage at a high level above 43% in three out of four seasons. His three-point percentage is also elite, keeping at least 40% for three out of four seasons.
A recent look at the training camp footages showed Svi draining 20 three-pointers in a row, a feat that seemed so Steph-like. His stroke is smooth and mechanically efficient, with a quick release. Even teammates highlighted in their media interviews that Svi showed greater maturity and calm in handling challenges than most rookies would have.
Looking at this impressive track record, one can only imagine the immediate impact that this calm and confident rookie can bring to the rising Lakers team.