Toronto Raptors: Svi Mykhailiuk could get major rotation minutes

SACRAMENTO, CA - MAY 09: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ben Green/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MAY 09: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ben Green/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors appeared to have their rotation completely planned out after what was a very busy and tumultuous offseason, but the signing of Svi Mykhailiuk proved that Masai Ujiri wanted to add one more shooter added into the mix.

After a very long, productive college career at Kansas, the Ukrainian sensation was drafted by the Lakers in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft. After ending up in Detroit, Mykhailiuk found his footing in the NBA, averaging 8.7 points per game on 41% shooting with the Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder.

After failing to latch on with an NBA roster despite the fact he offers shooting and perimeter defense in a league that is starting to lean on those two traits more with each passing year, Ujiri and the Raptors’ front office finally came calling in order to give him a potential home for 2021 and beyond.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Mykhailiuk is signing a contract with the Raptors for 2021-22 that included a player option for the 2022-23 season.

As Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes, the fact that Mykhailiuk has a player option for next season means that he will almost assuredly be on the roster at the start of the season. This leaves five contracts with small guarantees to fight it out for three vacant spots on the gameday roster.

The Raptors could end up with a steal in Mykhailiuk, as his shooting might be enough to earn him minutes as a backup shooting guard right out of the gate.

Svi Mykhailiuk should become a quality reserve for the Toronto Raptors.

Mykhailiuk handled the ball a bit in Oklahoma City, but his main spots are on the wing, where he can lean on a 3-point shot with a 36% career success rate. As far as his defense goes, the Thunder allowed 4.0 points fewer per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, making him one of the better defenders on what was a terrible OKC unit on that end.

Goran Dragic is still around, but the Raptors’ guard depth on the bench is questionable. Is Yuta Watanabe going to get minutes as an off-ball guard? Will either Dalano Banton or David Johnson get minutes in that spot? Mykhailiuk helps the Raptors throw an experienced option back there to get rid of some of that uncertainty.

If anyone should know what Mykhailiuk could bring to the table, it’s the Raptors. Gary Trent Jr. set a new career-high (at the time) with 31 points, but Mykhailiuk’s 22 helped the Thunder take home a win at the end of March.

As hinted by Murphy, the Raptors could still look to move Dragic at the deadline in the name of both getting draft capital and tax relief. Mykhailiuk has several solid NBA seasons under his belt, and he could thrive in a Toronto offense that would need someone with his skillset down the stretch if Dragic is moved.

Mykhailiuk is not going to score 30 points every night, but he will be able to knock down a few 3-pointers, handle the ball with some degree of success, and play some above-average defense. For a deal that doesn’t break the bank, that’s a solid move from Ujiri and the front office.

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