Mykhailiuk puts best skill on full display during workout with the Celtics
As many of you probably saw on Twitter on Tuesday, I was told by someone closely connected to Kansas junior Svi Mykhailiuk that the KU guard knocked down 85 of 100 NBA-range 3-point attempts during a recent workout with the Boston Celtics.
Obviously, that’s damn good.
And, while I’m sure there are those of you out there who might not believe the number, I have no doubt about the validity of the claim because I’ve seen Svi light it up, shot after shot, swish after swish, in an open gym with nobody guarding him.
That, essentially, was the drill he ran through during his recent workout with the Celtics, and, evidently, it’s something Boston — and probably other teams — does on an annual basis.
A year ago, former Oklahoma star Buddy Hield went through the same drill and, believe it or not, also knocked down 85 of the 100 3-pointers he shot. Also last year, former Kentucky guard Jamal Murray did the same drill and drained 79 triples and, a couple of months before that, former Gonzaga big man Kyle Wiltjer made 77. You get the point.
Along with just about every other team in the NBA, the Celtics clearly like to see just how well guys can shoot before they even consider drafting them.
And while this one drill is certainly an eye-opener when you first hear about the results, it’s not exactly a great predictor of future NBA success. Hield, for instance was drafted in the lottery last year, while Wiltjer went undrafted.
So, obviously, there are many more factors that go into whether a player is draft worthy, and it’s those factors that make Svi more of a question mark as he embarks upon his path to the draft and juggles the decision whether to stay in it or return to Kansas for his senior year.
As has been my belief throughout the process, I really don’t think Svi knows yet whether he will stay or go. This week’s combine likely will play a huge role in helping him determine the answer and I don’t think people should be looking at this thing in the scope of whether Svi is a first-round draft pick or not.
Sure, that’s where the guaranteed money is made. But getting drafted in the second round does not mean you’re not going to make a roster. It just means it’s going to be a lot harder and the money you’ll be getting will be money that you will have earned through toughness and grit and hunger and prayer.
My take on Svi is this: No matter how well he does this week at the combine, he’s probably a second-round pick. So the question for him isn’t really about money and earning potential. It’s about a gamble.
Does he think he’s good enough to make a roster from a second-round slot or does he think he should come back, be more aggressive as a senior, attempt to showcase more of his all-around game and hope that improves his draft stock?
It’s a tough question. And one I’m glad I don’t have to answer.
Because, at the end of the day, no matter how much Svi does or does not show, either this week at the combine or next season at Kansas, he’s either going to make the NBA or not make it because he can shoot the basketball.
Going 85-for-100 in a drill in front of some important people who can directly impact your future certainly doesn’t hurt anything.
But the guess here is that those people have already forgotten about it. What they want to know is simple: Can he do it again?
Other quick combine notes:
• Josh Jackson, a projected Top 3 pick in this summer's NBA Draft, will not even attend the combine for interviews. He's been working out in Los Angeles and will stay there instead of traveling to Chicago to interview with teams. One source said Jackson would eventually meet one-on-one with NBA teams but added that the list would likely be five or less given his status as a high lottery pick.
• Frank Mason III will join Svi in Chicago for the combine and the two biggest days for both players will come Thursday and Friday when they participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages and a variety of skills and agility tests.
• In a recent interview with the Journal-World, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said that, when he first came to the United States many scouts viewed Mykhailiuk as a future college and/or NBA point guard. Things have not played out that way during his three-year KU career, however, and Mykhailiuk's best path to the draft, should he stay in it, is as an athletic, instant-offense type of wing player with a deadly shot. Svi has until 10 days after the end of the combine (May 24) to decide whether to leave his name in the draft pool or return to KU for his senior year.