Toronto Raptors: Svi Mykhailiuk boldly chose Raps over Lakers

PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 03: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 03: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors took their time when it came to reeling in Svi Mykhailiuk, but they eventually got their man, as the former Thunder and Pistons sharpshooter agreed to a contract that gives him a player option for 2022-23. The shooting-deficient Raptors could utilize his skills.

While the Ukrainian sensation hasn’t been able to stick anywhere long-term since leaving Kansas, Toronto could be an ideal situation for him. He’ll get minutes to show off how improved he is as a shooter, and he’ll do so on a team that should be better than two of the league’s worst from last year in Oklahoma City and Detroit.

Mykhailiuk, a career 36% 3-point shooter, drew some interest from contending teams, including the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. Rather than return to the team who originally drafted him, Mykhailiuk gathered all the available information and picked Toronto as a better spot for him.

Mykhailiuk claims that despite the Lakers and Trail Blazers trying to woo him to Los Angeles and Portland, respectively, he thought that Nick Nurse valued him as a player, would be willing to grant him extra playing time, and could aid him in his development as an all-around offensive threat.

Toronto Raptors guard Svi Mykhailiuk picked this squad over the Lakers.

Playing in Detroit and Oklahoma City helped mask his production last season, but Mykhailiuk may have had the best year of his career. Svi averaged 8.5 points per game, including 10.3 per contest with the Thunder, to go along with 2.5 boards and 1.7 assists per game.

His 3-point shooting took a slight dip, but he made up for it by attacking the rim more often.

The Raptors are building a team build on versatility on the defensive end and a positionless structure, and while Mykhailiuk doesn’t offer much in the way of elite defense, he is a 6-8 guard who can handle the ball and make contested jumpers. For an option at the end of the bench, that isn’t bad at all.

Mykhailiuk will be competing for minutes on the wing with non-guaranteed players like Yuta Watanabe and Isaac Bonga. Considering that he has a slightly more expansive resume in the pros, expect him to potentially get the lion’s share of the minutes as a backup wing.

The Lakers could’ve used his shooting and youth on their aging team, and the Blazers would’ve likely given him time in order to take a small bit of responsibility away from Damian Lillard, but he chose to turn those squads down to come to the Toronto Raptors.

Now, it’s up to Nurse to fulfill his end of the bargain. Can he take Mykhailiuk, already a solid shooter, and make him someone that can be a creator for himself and others on the offensive end of the floor?

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