Detroit Pistons’ Svi Mykhailiuk shows he has more tricks in his bag

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

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More than any other player on the Detroit Pistons‘ roster, Svi Mykhailiuk embodies the ‘3-point marksman’ archetype. 

Last season, 285 of his 405 total shot attempts (70.4%) were taken from behind the 3-point line. According to Cleaning The Glass, Mykhailiuk took a higher percentage of his shots from outside than any other player on the roster — except for Brandon Knight, who took 80% of his shots from 3 in the nine games he spent with the Pistons.

So far, Mykhailiuk’s shot selection this season is playing out similarly. Sixty-five of his 83 (78.3%) total attempts have been 3-pointers, tops on the roster. But unlike last season, his shots haven’t been falling. After knocking down 40.4% of his 3-pointers last season, Mykhailiuk entered Wednesday’s game against the Bucks shooting 33.8% overall and 29.5% from 3 — nearly 11 percentage points lower than last year. 

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To snap his slump Wednesday, Mykhailiuk had to change his traditional approach to his game. He scored a season-high 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting and 2-for-4 on 3s. Four of his shots came inside the arc — a stepback midrange jumper in the second quarter and three layups in the third.

After watching Mykhailiuk shoot 1-for-9 against the Utah Jazz on Sunday, head coach Dwane Casey was happy to see him get his stroke back. 

“I was really glad to see, more than anything else, the bounce back of his confidence,” Casey said. “He had a rough night against Utah the other night, for whatever it was. Had some wide open looks. But he had the confidence and swag to come back and not even hesitate, which is what great shooters have to do. I was proud of him for that first. The other thing that’s rounded out is his defense. His defensive awareness is much better now, his pick-and-roll game now as far as them running him off the line, him making decisions.”

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All three of Mykhailiuk’s layups were scored in a different way. He used his tendency to shoot from outside to open other scoring opportunities. He sent Khris Middleton running the opposite direction after faking a cut toward the 3-point line. Instead, Mykhailiuk ran to the rim, where Josh Jackson rewarded him with a wide open layup.

His second layup was a drive to the rim coming off of a dribble handoff from Isaiah Stewart. At the top of the key, he switched from his left to his right hand as he glided by Bobby Portis and finished at the rim after two long strides. His third layup was a transition opportunity. 

Mykhailiuk also attempted five free throws and made four. In 56 games last year, he only took five or more free throws in five games. 

Wednesday showed there’s potential for Mykhailiuk, who’s in his third year, to further diversify his offensive game and become a more well-rounded scorer. For now, it showed he is more than a 3-point shooter. If the defense runs him off of the line, he can still make plays. 

“I feel like it was very good because people know I can shoot, so now they try to run me off the line,” Mykhailiuk said after the game. “For me, I think I can make the right play every time in the lane. When they run me off, I try to make the right play every time, whether it’s a shot, pass … if I don’t have a shot, I’m just going to play basketball and take whatever the defense gives me.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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