Former Kansas Jayhawks guards Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman will be playing for a title — the 2018 Las Vegas NBA Summer League crown — on Tuesday night.
Mykhailiuk, a second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the June 21 NBA Draft, scored a summer league personal-best 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting — he was 6 of 11 from three — while undrafted free agent signee Newman contributed four points in 12 minutes in the Lakers’ 112-109 double-overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Monday’s semifinals.
Former KU forward Billy Preston, an undrafted free agent who, like Newman, recently signed a two-way contract, scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting for the Cavaliers. He grabbed four rebounds and had three steals.
The 6-foot-10, 20-year-old Preston misfired on a three-pointer as time expired. He had hit a three on the Cavs’ previous possession, cutting the deficit to two points with 4.7 seconds left in double OT. The Lakers made one of two free throws, setting the stage for the Cavs’ possible game-tying final possession. Preston — he was 2 of 3 from three — was short on a deep three, the ball hitting the rim to the left of center.
Mykhailiuk had scored 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting (2 of 5 from three) in a 101-78 quarterfinal victory over Detroit on Sunday night. That game was witnessed by newly acquired Lakers star LeBron James, who sat behind the LA bench.
“I mean, yeah, for sure,” Mykhailiuk told nba.com when asked whether it was a thrill having his new teammate, James, in the stands for Sunday’s quarterfinal. “Him coming to the game and just watching the game … it’s pretty cool.”
The 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk hit his first three of Sunday’s game just a few feet from James.
“I just focus on the floor, just play the game,” Svi said Sunday. “All that matters is the hoop and the basketball.”
The Lakers, who will play the Portland TrailBlazers in Tuesday’s 9 p.m. Central time championship game (12:30 a.m. Wednesday broadcast on NBA TV), are 6-0 in Vegas after going 0-3 in a four-team round robin tournament in Sacramento prior to the Vegas event. The Lakers also won the Vegas Summer League in 2017.
“Everybody is getting close. We’re getting to know each other. Everybody’s trusting each other, and everybody is just getting better every day,” Mykhailiuk told nba.com on Sunday.
He said he’s gaining valuable NBA experience this summer.
“I’m trying to learn from the coaches and teammates,” Svi said. The Lakers summer league team is coached by Miles Simon. “We have some veterans on the team, some players who play in the NBA. I’m trying to learn from them and get better every day.”
Basketball Insiders recently reported new details on Mykhailiuk’s first NBA contract, which he signed last week. It is a three-year deal worth $4.6 million. The first year provides him $1,487,694 fully guaranteed. The second and third years are not guaranteed. The team must decide to keep or release him by July 5, 2019, then again by July 5, 2020. He was chosen No. 47 overall in the 2018 draft.