Last season, I wrote Svi Mykhailiuk needed to prove it to Pistons fans:
I predict Svi would play 1500 minutes this season, which would put him in essentially the same place in the rotation that Bruce Brown Jr. and Langston Galloway held last year. I believe, essentially, that Svi can make the wide-open shots Langston had such difficulty with last season, and that will keep him in the rotation... Ultimately, right now Svi’s chance at playing time is in no one’s hands but Svi. As a second-year player drafted in the second round, that’s all you can really ask for at this point in your career. I (hope? expect?) think Svi will make the most of his chance, and that will benefit the Pistons in the present and future.
That turned out great! Svi made the most of his chance! He played 1,256 minutes last year (and easily would have eclipsed 1,500 minutes had the Pistons season not ended due to an ongoing global pandemic) and made shots. Svi shot 40% from three on five attempts a game for the Pistons and played solid team defense. Those two things earned him rotation minutes and - maybe more importantly - the trust of Dwane Casey.
That trust earns him a solid look at a starting role this year. And because of the premium the NBA at large puts on shooting (especially accurate shooting at volume), that look at a starting role could land him a lot of money. This offseason alone, we saw the following free agent contracts handed out:
- Joe Harris: 4 years, $75 million (42% from three, 5.9 3PA/g)
- Davis Bertans: 5 years, $80 million (42% from three, 8.7 [!] 3PA/g)
- Bogdan Bogdanovic: 4 years, $72 million (37% from three, 7.2 3PA/g)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 3 years, $39 million (38% from three, 3.5 3PA/g)
- Malik Beasley: 4 years, $60 million (38% from three, 5 3PA/g)
This could be an extremely lucrative year for Svi, and the Pistons would do well to stay very cognizant of that.
Svi eventually should settle into the starting shooting guard role. With the depth/number of bodies the Pistons will probably want to take an in-season look at, that probably means 28 minutes a night for Svi instead of 32 minutes a night. But hey! A starting NBA player is a starting NBA player, and that’s what Sammy Wloszczowski and Michael Lelchitski are gonna be emphasizing.
Best Case Scenario
Svi is an elite shooting weapon, shooting 40+% from three on heavy volume (7+ threes a game), warping defenses and facilitating the development of the young players around him. After defenses start treating him like a guy who shoots 40+% from three on heavy volume, he’s able to make plays attacking the rim, making marginal improvements as a kickout passer and finisher. He starts 60+ games for the Pistons, and heads in to the offseason with dollar signs in his eyes.
Worst Case Scenario
Stagnation. Svi regresses as a defender and playmaker, and has a slightly down year (for him) shooting the basketball, shooting “only” 37 or 38% from three on a similar number of attempts as last year. Dwane Casey elects to keep him on the bench, playing only the 22 minutes a night off the bench that Svi was playing last season. Saddiq Bey or Josh Jackson or Wayne Ellington eating into Svi’s minutes makes Pistons fans a little disappointed, depending on what those other guys look like.