The Athletic’s Shams Charania followed up his initial report with a confirmation that the second year of the deal is a player option. That would seem to indicate that the Raptors expect Mykhailiuk to make the team coming out of training camp, and possibly even make the rotation.
Mykhailiuk has three years of experience under his belt, split between the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons and the Thunder. Last season he played in 66 games between the Pistons and the Thunder, averaging 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 41/33/76 shooting splits.
Originally from Ukraine, Mykhailiuk was drafted in the second round in 2017 by the Lakers.
With the Raptors, if Mykhailiuk can ratchet up his shotmaking (he’s a career 36% shooter from deep), he may well find a role on a team that is lacking in high volume shooting and shot creation. He’ll be battling in camp with the likes of Yuta Watanabe, Ish Wainwright, Sam Dekker and Isaac Bonga for one of the deep rotation spots, but given that Pascal Siakam will miss the start of the season, there’s plenty of room for someone to step and make an impact.
Defensively, though, it’s hard to see Mykhailiuk finding favour with head coach Nick Nurse, who expects a lot from his players on that end. Although Mykhailiuk has decent size and a good set of shoulders, he doesn’t have the length that the Raptors seem to prize.
So once again, it’s another project for the Raptors’ vaunted player development staff. We’ll see if they can help Mykhailiuk take his game to the next level.
[Editor’s note: This article originally referred to Mykhailiuk as being from “the Ukraine,” when the correct way to describe the country is “Ukraine” (no the). A note of appreciation to reader Greg Cholkan for correcting my mistake. Greg shared this article. which is well worth a read, to explain the very important difference.]