The Toronto Raptors saw their bench quality take a severe nosedive as the year went on, and the decline of Svi Mykhailiuk is one of the main reasons. Mykhailiuk went from a rotation fixture to someone that only saw time on the floor when the outcome was decided.
While Mykhailiuk earned some spot starts during an impressive November, he fell off hard as the season progressed. From January onward, Mykhailiuk never scored more than eight points in a game and averaged just 1.6 points per game in 5.1 minutes per game. He made just 29% of his shots and 23% of his 3-pointers.
After spurning teams like the Lakers in free agency, Mykhailiuk saw his value within the league trend precipitously downward last year. Toronto was not the ideal spot for him, but it appears as though he is willing to roll the dice and come back to Canada next year.
Mykhailiuk is back on the Raptors’ books next year, as he exercised his $1.9 million player option. The Ukrainian sharpshooter had some pleasant moments on offense with Detroit and Oklahoma City before he arrived in Toronto. Still, he could not flex his scoring skill with the Raptors consistently.
How will Svi Mykhailiuk impact the Toronto Raptors?
Mykhailiuk likely opted in for one of two reasons. Mykhailiuk either really loves being in Toronto and thinks that this is the place where he can get better as a player, or he realizes that he is unlikely to earn $1.9 million per year on the open market. My money is on the second one.
Mykhailiuk is a serviceable end-of-the-bench player at this stage of his career, as he can get hot as a shooter and play passable defense. However, considering the fact that Nurse was willing to play just about everyone else except him in the rotation near the end of the year, Svi won’t be an impact rotation name.
Mykhailiuk may have some value in trade talks, where his salary and style of play could appeal to a team who thinks that they have the secret ingredient that will get him turned back around. Maybe he’ll be included as a throw-in player in a huge package?
As far as mop-up backups go, you could certainly do a lot worse than Mykhailiuk. His performance early in the season shows that a solid NBA player is still in there somewhere. If the Raptors get stuck with more bad luck and injuries, Svi just might be able to get back on the right track.