Raptors: Svi Mykhailiuk struggling in FIBA qualifiers is bad news

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 26: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 26: Svi Mykhailiuk #14 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors had one of the worst benches in the league last year, and the poor performance of veteran guard Svi Mykhailiuk was one of the main reasons for that sharp decline. After arriving from Oklahoma City, Mykhailiuk was billed as a sniper who could help Toronto as a sweet shooter.

After a great preseason and strong start to the regular season, Mykhailiuk fell off a cliff. The Ukrainian wing not only lost his spot in the rotation, but he underperformed to the point where Toronto spent most of their available cap space signing a replacement in Otto Porter Jr.

Mykhailiuk could have used the summer international showcase to really strut his stuff on a grand stage, as fellow Raptors signee Juancho Hernangomez is doing the same with Spain. Svi had a chance to get back on the right track, but he appears to have blown it.

In Ukraine’s FIBA World Cup qualifier loss against Italy, Mykhailiuk went just 5-19 from the field and 0-9 from 3-point range. His -12 plus/minus rating was the worst on the team. Ukraine also blew a double-digit halftime lead. Not the best day at the office for

Toronto Raptors: Svi Mykhailiuk struggled with Ukraine.

While Hernangomez had an iffy performance for the Spanish team earlier in the week, he wasn’t one shot away from 25% efficiency on 20 attempts. With his defense as average as can be, Mykhailiuk’s only hope of making the roster is setting himself apart offensively.

Mykhailiuk averaged just 4.6 points per game and shot 31% from 3-point range. From January onward, when he was limited to spot duty as a mop-up player, those numbers dipped to 1.6 points per game and 23% 3-point range. It looks like a fresh start might be in the cards.

While the international game can be a bit of a shock to some pro players given the size of the ball and the way some systems are constructed, Mykhailiuk needed to put up a better showing than this at a time when his NBA future is dangling by a thread.

Mykhailiuk has proven several times over that he can be a quality shooter in the NBA, but he isn’t taking to the Raptors’ system. If he doesn’t come out firing in the preseason, Toronto would be well within their rights to part ways with him and lean on one of the non-guaranteed players trying to make the roster.

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