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Svi Mykhailiuk: First Round Pick

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NCAA Men’s Final Four - Previews Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Obviously I am biased given where I am writing this, but I remain astonished Svi Mykhailiuk isn’t listed as a first round pick anywhere.

Picture the leading scorer from the most recent U-20 European Championships, the 10th leading scorer in the 2016 U-20 European Championships, a member of the 2013 U-16 European Championship all tournament team, a guy who has already played in the FIBA World Cup, and a guy who has already played professional basketball. Now picture that he is 6-7 and has spent four years in probably the best strength program in college basketball. It’s hard for me to fathom why he isn’t a first round pick.

In today’s NBA, probably the best skill a player can have is shooting. Mykhailiuk shot 41 percent from three for his career at Kansas, including 44 percent as a senior. If you take out his 52 threes he shot as a 16 year old Freshman, Svi shot 42 percent from deep. He excelled both off the dribble and as a catch and shoot guy.

Svi is also more well rounded offensively than he is given credit for, posting assist rates of higher than 10 percent in three of his four years in Lawrence. His ball handling ability at his height make him a potentially very good pick and roll ball handler at the next level.

Defensively, Svi is still battling the perception that he isn’t very good, thanks to a rough first couple years in Lawrence. He definitely needs to get better off the ball as he leaves shooters alone too often, but that can be fixed. On the ball, however, he has demonstrated tremendous improvement. With the NBA currently obsessed with switchability on defense and guys who can guard multiple positions, what better tape to show than Svi Mykhailiuk successfully stopping Jevon Carter and Marvin Bagley.

The major knocks seem to be that he has a negative wingspan (i.e. a wingspan smaller than his height). He’s not an elite athlete, although he doesn’t have much trouble dunking. But Svi is going to be in the NBA for one reason and one reason only: shooting. At 6-7, it doesn’t matter as much if he has a negative wingspan. He can guard well enough to ensure he can stay on the floor even during the hyper switching rounds of the NBA playoffs. His pedigree, secondary skills, and elite shooting skill combined show that Mykhailiuk should be a first round pick, or else someone is getting quite a steal.