Analyzing Nikita Mikhailovskii

May 28, 2019

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Avtodor Saratov’s, Russian-born swingman, Nikita Mikhailovskii play in a couple of basketball games; first in a game against s.Oliver Würzburg that took place on March 6th, and another that was against New Heroes Den Bosch on November 21st, as both were FIBA Europe Cup Matches that I was able to watch, with thanks to YouTube via FIBA.  For me, this was an opportunity to assess his skills and upside as a prospect for the next level.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in these games, as well as how his skills may translate to the NBA.

Nikita Mikhailovskii is a mobile, skilled basketball player that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA, and he has a variety of skills that could allow him to thrive at that level.  Mikhailovskii is a good shooter that can knock down plenty of spot-up threes off the catch to space the floor for his team on offense.  He especially excels at making them when he is given ample space to shoot the basketball, and he also can make them quickly with opponents bearing down on him.  He also used a pump fake, and he was able to show that he can make a tough, fadeaway pull-up jumper from just inside the arc, though he was awarded a non-shooting foul instead on the play rather than being given continuation.  He can sometimes struggle to shoot off the dribble, but generally Mikhailovskii really excelled at making spot-up jumpers.

He also showed a solid ability to score on hustle plays.  He has a knack for scoring on quick cuts to the hoop, and he also has a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders.  He also ran the floor to catch a long pass, and he was able to draw free throws on a layup in transition.  He also managed to draw free throws after looking to score on a quick put back after hustling to grab an offensive rebound.  Mikhailovskii really showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, as he will contort his body in such ways that enables him to get foul calls.

Plus, he also showed a decent ability to score on drives to the basket.  Mikhailovskii has a fairly quick first step to the hoop, and he was able to score on a graceful layup while getting an extra free throw once.  He will tend to drive to his left before looking to score with his right hand, and he also was able to make a floater.  However, he can tend to miss on runners, as he can sometimes tend to overtly try to force the issue on offense.

Also, Mikhailovskii looked to be about average as a playmaker.  He is a patient player that will look to find the open man, and he also was able to throw a sharp entry pass to set up a score late against New Heroes Den Bosch.  He also pushed the ball up the floor to throw a nifty, no-look pass off the dribble to kick it out to a shooter to set up a transition scoring opportunity, as he possesses adequate court vision.  He will mostly tend to throw safe passes to his teammates, but he did show that he can make tougher passes when he’s engaged on offense.  However, he also can tend to be turnover prone.  Mikhailovskii can tend to get sloppy with his ball handling, as he can be prone to getting it poked away by defenders.  His tendency to commit ball-handling turnovers can be rather alarming, as he especially can struggle to protect the basketball in traffic, and he has a tendency to play too out of control on occasion.

Mikhailovskii also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He will hustle to chase down loose balls to get offensive boards.  He also will leap up to get defensive rebounds, and sometimes he will push the ball up the floor afterwards.  He has good ball location skills, and he was able to leap up to tip a ball off of an opponent late against s.Oliver Würzburg, as he had the good presence of mind to knock it off of him to help his team get possession of the ball.

He is an agile player that has the physical tools to excel defensively, and he will often compete hard on this end of the floor, but at this stage, he will need to improve his position defense.  For the positives though, Mikhailovskii is an active help defender that will play passing lanes, as he can get his hands on passes to help his team get steals.  He also can poke balls away to make it difficult for his opponents to dribble around.  He also will fight through screens, and he also was able to contest a pull-up three to force a miss.  However, he will tend to get beat off the dribble, as he would be prone to committing reach-in fouls as a result.  He also will gamble for steals, which can lead him to being out of position, and for his team to be in scrambling situations.  Other times, his effort level can languish and he can be caught ball watching, as he can tend to be late on his rotations, which would allow his opponents to score on jumpers.

In summary, Nikita Mikhailovskii is a skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also can pass and rebound the basketball.  However, he will need to be a more disciplined defender in games, and he will also need to show that he can consistently play well in high levels of competition in international basketball.  Right now, he looks to be a second round prospect if he stays in this draft.  He will need more time to develop overseas in order for him to have a more complete, well-rounded game, but if he can reach his full potential, he may have the skills to thrive as a role player in the NBA in the future.