KU’s Svi Mykhailiuk delivers Senior Night speech
Former University of Kansas standout Svi Mykhailiuk earned second-team all-NBA Summer League honors last July as a rookie shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now a 22-year-old member of the Detroit Pistons, Mykhailiuk is off to another successful start in the 2019 Summer League, which is being contested at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on UNLV’s campus in Las Vegas.
The 6-foot-8 native of Ukraine, who averaged 16.6 points a game in helping the Lakers place second of 30 teams in the summer of 2018, scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting (2 of 6 threes) with five assists against six turnovers in Detroit’s 96-80 victory over Croatia on Friday.
He followed that with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting (4 of 10 threes) in Saturday’s 93-73 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Croatia and China join 30 NBA teams this summer at the 10-day, 32-team event in Vegas.
“I feel like there was no pressure (last year) because nobody expected me to do what I did,” Mykhailiuk, the 17th pick of Round Two in the 2018 NBA Draft, told nba.com. “I just came out and played basketball. I’m not trying to think about what happened. I’m just trying to come out and play basketball, help my teammates win and play as hard as I can.”
Mykhailiuk — he had four assists to two turnovers against Portland on Saturday — is determined to not only make the Pistons’ roster after playing sparingly in 42 games (39 with Lakers, three with Pistons) a year ago, but also claim a spot in the regular playing rotation.
“For him and anybody else, there’s development to play and development to do more,” Pistons summer league coach Sean Sweeney told nba.com. “Those usually go hand in hand. On the defensive end, he’s going to have different roles and responsibilities we want him to fulfill and execute as well as he can.
“Offensively, there’s things we want him to do and, obviously, he has a skill set that we like. He’ll be trying to develop on both sides and understand there’s going to be an emphasis on competing and guarding and doing things defensively to help the team win — the same as there’s going to be an emphasis on making plays and good decisions on offense to help the team win.”
Mykhailiuk’s long-range shooting — he hit 32.6% of his three-point tries last season after hitting 44.4% from three in 2017-18 at KU — is expected to keep him in the league.
Whether Svi becomes a rotation player, however, may ultimately be decided on the defensive end.
“That I can play defense, basically,” Mykhailiuk said, asked what he wants to show in games in the 2019 summer league. “Just be always aggressive, be always alert and pay attention to details.”
Of Svi, Sweeney said: “He’s got good size, he’s got good athleticism, understands concepts, where to be, what to do, just in general makes sure he’s in the right spots.”
Mykhailiuk had surgery on his left index finger on April 10 that sidelined for several weeks in the offseason. He’s healthy now and eager to make a good impression.
“After being a rookie, in my second year, I definitely have to earn my spot, my playing time,” Mykhailiuk told the Detroit Free Press. He’ll be competing for minutes with Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard, Tony Snell, Langston Galloway and Khyri Thomas. “On the other hand, I just got to go out here and play and have fun,” Mykhailiuk added.
On Saturday, he made four threes against the Blazers.
“Offensively, he’s done a really good job of making decisions, making good plays” Sweeney told the Free Press on Saturday. “Defensively, I’ve been pretty pleased with his ball pressure. He’s getting down in his stance and competing.”
Jayhawks in Vegas summer league
Former KU guard Devonté Graham of the Charlotte Hornets scored 21 points on 5-of-14 shooting (4 of 10 from three) with four assists, two turnovers, three steals and four rebounds in a 93-85 victory over Golden State on Friday in Las Vegas. He played 26 minutes. Former KU forward Dedric Lawson scored two points, grabbed three rebounds and had three steals in 10 minutes for Golden State. … Former KU guard Malik Newman didn’t play in Cleveland’s opening game against Minnesota on Friday in Vegas. It’s been reported that he’s been slowed by a knee injury. … Former KU forward Thomas Robinson scored two points and grabbed two rebounds while playing nine minutes in San Antonio’s 75-59 loss to Orlando on Friday. The game was called in the third quarter because of an earthquake centered in California that also shook Vegas. … Former KU forward Cliff Alexander scored 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting with four rebounds in 14 minutes in the Los Angeles Clippers 93-87 win over the Lakers on Saturday. Former KU center Jeff Withey scored three points while playing 11 minutes in the Washington Wizards’ 84-79 win over New Orleans on Saturday.. The 7-footer was 1 of 2 from three for Washington.
Marcus Morris picks San Antonio
Former KU forward Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics on Saturday agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs, the San Antonio Express-News has reported.
Morris’ brother, Markieff, another former KU forward who played for Washington then Oklahoma City last season, agreed to a two-year deal with Detroit last week.
Marcus Morris, 29, averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds last season.
“The Spurs wanted some shooting, versatility, and better defense at the 4, and they landed all that in one package with Morris. He is a solid veteran 4 who can shoot the three (37.5% last season), can score in the post, but mostly brings a lot of grit and defense that the Spurs could use,” writes Kurt Helin of Yahoo!Sports.