Sunday, July 1, 2018


Tom Keegan: LeBron to Lakers great news for Svi Mykhailiuk

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three to force overtime with seconds remaining in regulation, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three to force overtime with seconds remaining in regulation, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.


Svi Mykhailiuk’s prospects for success as an NBA rookie just took a gigantic leap forward with Sunday night’s news that LeBron James decided to sign a four-year, $154-million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, who drafted Svi in the second round last month.

This is how it works for LeBron’s teammates, no matter where he plays: Defense collapses on LeBron, shooters spot up, LeBron feeds the open shooter.

And we all know what Svi does with open shots. He buries them. He made 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers as a 20-year-old senior who didn’t turn 21 until last month.

NBA rookies immediately work on expanding their range. They get stronger with age and they have more time to put up shots because they aren’t student-athletes, they’re professional athletes.

The Lakers used the 47th overall selection of the NBA draft on Svi because they had a shortage of spot-up shooters. Their need for long-distance marksmen just increased with the addition of James, a shooter’s dream teammate. James also is a defensive liability’s dream teammate. He can guard anybody, be used in any way and help to camouflage any weakness.

Few things are more demoralizing for great basketball players than to set up a teammate for an open shot and then watch it clank off the rim. Svi doesn’t clank, he swishes.

Last month, shortly after the Lakers selected Svi in the second round, KU coach Bill Self even referenced the idea of James and Svi teaming up.

“Who knows what will happen," Self began. "But if the rumors are true, he’ll be a nice piece. Having a corner jump shooter when maybe one of the best players ever has the ball in his hands, that could be a great situation for him.”

LeBron will love playing with Svi, even if the latest Lakers Hall of Famer will holler at him for losing his man on defense. LeBron will like knowing his passes won't be wasted on Svi, whose skill is needed by the Lakers. Josh Hart, tied for 38th in the NBA with a .396 percentage, was the Lakers top 3-point shooter last season.

As many NBA 3-point shots as Svi will put up in preparation for his rookie season, he’ll become a candidate to shoot 40 percent right off the bat, even though the NBA line is 3 feet deeper.

As a teammate of the planet’s best basketball player, Mykhailiuk instantly will have a higher profile than he would with any other team. The whole world watches LeBron.

LeBron's move serves as a reminder that no franchise has quite as exciting a history as the Lakers. Even though the Boston Celtics still have one more NBA championship than the Lakers, no NBA franchise has had as many stars: Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain gave way to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who retired and watched Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

Los Angeles loves its stars, but has a soft spot for supporting actors as well. “Svi for 3” could become as well received a phrase at the Staples Center as it was at Allen Fieldhouse. NBA crowds love players who come off the bench with a shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality.

Svi's jersey won't ever hang from such crowded rafters, but his chances of earning championship rings just improved.


Robert Brock 4 years, 5 months ago

LeBron didn’t leave any cash for anyone else.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 5 months ago

He took the max, which he deserves as the greatest basketball player on the planet, and left something like 19 mil for someone else.

Jason Venable 4 years, 5 months ago

But that 19M won't be nearly enough for Kawhi.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, but he can't be signed outright (he's still under contract for one more year with SA) and they don't have the roster flexibility to trade for him anyway so that doesn't really matter at this point. They basically have to plan on signing him next year in free agency and have this year be a building block towards that. Getting rid of the Deng contract will open up space for another max player.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 5 months ago

It's possible, though he has no history of being difficult prior to this so I try to give him the benefit of the doubt.

If he truly felt they didn't have his best interest and heart and were trying to force him to play before his body was ready, then got a second opinion that backed up that opinion, then Pops and Parker both throw him under the bus in interviews, I could see how that could piss him off and make him decide he wanted out of there. I'm not saying it certainly went that way but that's his story and it's a reasonable progression.

Jeremy Wilhelm 4 years, 5 months ago

Might be good news for Malik, too. The more three-point shooters LA can put out there, the better. Not to take joy from the struggles of others, but I think this is terrible for Lonzo, who is shaping up to be a major busta, and whose game won't really compliment James's at all.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 5 months ago

It is a great fit since he's always had a sharp shooting white guy on his teams (Mike Miller, Kyle Korver, etc.) He's also never won a championship without a Jayhawk on his team. Only one problem, LeBron doesn't like playing with rookies

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Kaun may have been an NBA rookie, but he had played very high level basketball prior in Russia and the Euroleague.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 5 months ago

James is going to miss Kevin Love and company. I'm not sure he has a good core at the Lakers, I do think Svi is a steal as a 3 Point shooter; however, West is going to be tough next year, and the Lakers need at least two more parts to be able to compete.

Lawrence McGlinn 4 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. I think the Lakers' supporting cast is currently weaker than the Cleveland supporting cast, especially in terms of outside shooting. Great opportunity for Svi!

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Lakers will lose in the 2nd round to either Hiuston or Golden State. This isn't even the deal that will have the biggest impact on the title picture, the Lakers signing McGee from the Warriors is a lot bigger deal because GS just lost their rim protector who made them a much better defensive team. Rockets and Celtics are the two best teams right now provided the Rockets keep Eric Gordon. Capela might be a restricted free agent, but the Rockets will match any offer to keep Capela around because he's the franchise player of the future in Houston.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 5 months ago

Warriors replaced McGee with DeMarcus Cousins...the rich get richer.

Tracey Graham 4 years, 5 months ago

Svi will likely spend the majority of the season down in the G League, along with Malik. Neither guy is going to be in the Lakers' primary rotation. So Lebron signing there has little real effect on either ex-Jayhawk

Magic Johnson has spent the last 2 days signing a zillion veterans to one-year deals. Barring some kind of trade, Luke Walton is going to have a hard time finding enought playing time for the vets, let alone a 2nd rd rookie

PS - I'm watch the Kings-Lakers Summer League game. Svi and Frank Mason have both played ok.

Tracey Graham 4 years, 5 months ago

Svi shot the ball very well in his Summer League debut last night. 6/10 overall, 3/6 from behind the arc. He moved well off the ball and had a couple of strong drives to the basket. He also held his own on defense for the most part, although he didn't have to defend Sacramento's super quick basckcourt (Fox & Mason), which helped. He is going to hae to work on is to clearstrength & conditioning, though. And I still think he won't get much playing time in the regular season unless the Lakers make a trade. Too many people ahead of him on the depth chart. But let's see how the rest of the offseason plays out.

Frank Mason had a nice game for the Kings. 16 points on 4/7 shooting, nine assists. He hit a clutch 3-pointer that sealed the win. He plays solid defense but his height is alwayss going to be an issue. A couple of things he needs to still improve on is not playing so much ISO ball, finishing at the rim and playing a bit more under control. The Kings are determined to really push the pace, but there were a few times where both Frank and De'Andre Fox were a little out of control.

Marvin Bagley Jr. looks like he is going to be really good. He and Jaren Jackson Jr. both lwere impressive in their first taste of SL action. Trae Young, Lonny Walker IV and Grayson Allen, meanwhile, all had rough debuts.

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