Evaluating Nikita Mikhailovskii in a VTB United League Game
May 14th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Recently, Avtodor Saratov’s 6-7, Russian forward, Nikita Mikhailovskii declared to enter the 2021 NBA Draft. He is an agile, skilled swingman that played well overseas, and he is a sharpshooter that excels at shooting and scoring the basketball. I took the time to watch him play in a VTB United League game against Astana that took place on October 22nd, with thanks to YouTube via NikoSlams. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Nikita Mikhailovskii put forth an impressive showing in his team’s double-digit win over Astana. He especially excelled as a sharpshooter on offense, but he also did a good job of distributing the basketball to help his team in this game. Mikhailovskii shot the ball very well, especially from downtown. He did a tremendous job of making quick, long-range jumpers off the catch, and he also ran the floor and caught a long outlet pass to make a long two-point shot on the break. He would sometimes rush his shots when he would shoot off the dribble, and when he try to contort his body for foul calls, it would lead to misses. Mikhailovskii was able to calmly make a couple of pull-up threes late in this game, and he showed that he can shoot off the dribble when he doesn’t rush himself.
He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. Mikhailovskii was able to use a crafty ball fake to score on a tough, flip layup on a quick drive in transition. He also dribbled right off of a screen to score on a smooth layup another time. He missed on a runner from around the mid-range, but Mikhailovskii was quite effective at scoring when he had his balance.
Also, he displayed solid playmaking skills in this game. Mikhailovskii is an unselfish player that can quickly find the open man, and he can pass off the dribble and on the move to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He sees the floor and has solid court vision that enables him to rack up assists. On the other hand, there was one play where he dropped a high, hard to catch lob pass off of a backdoor cut that led to a team turnover. In addition, Mikhailovskii was able to chase down balls to get several defensive boards, and he would tend to bring the ball up the floor afterwards. On the downside, he also committed a reach-in foul on a put back, which led his team to allow a score and an extra free throw afterwards.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average in this game. For the positives, he did a great job of collecting steals. He did tend to cheat off of his man, but he would be able to catch errant passes that were thrown right to him to get a steal, and he also ran in to pounce upon a dropped pass to get a loose ball. Mikhailovskii also recovered to swipe a ball away on a drive to get another steal. He also would stay in front of his man when defending opposing ball handlers, and he also used his length to force an opponent to miss on a long two.
On the other hand, he would tend to gamble too much and play too aggressively at times. He would tend to bite on the first move, and he would tend to over-pursue opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to be out of position, and he would end up committing fouls or allow scores. He also would miss on steal attempts, which would cause him to be out of position. He also struggled to defend screens. He was called for a hand-checking foul when trying to stay with his man that ran off of a ball screen once. He also would tend to get caught and stuck on screens, which would put his team in scramble situations.
Overall, Nikita Mikhailovskii is a skilled, mobile swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball. His strong shooting skills could make him a solid second round prospect for the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to former San Antonio Spurs’ guard, Roger Mason in the NBA.
Avtodor Saratov’s 6-7 forward, Anton Kvitkovskikh also played well in his team’s win over Astana. He is a skilled marksman that excelled at knocking down three-point shots, and he also played a solid all-around game to help get his team the victory. Kvitkovskikh shot the ball very well, and he showed a knack for making quick, open spot-up threes off the catch. He also ran the floor to score on the break. Plus, he also managed to score on a backdoor cut to the hoop another time.
Plus, he also drove to his left to draw free throws to get to the free throw line once. However, he struggled to score in the post, and he generally struggled to score in traffic. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he did a good job of passing off the dribble and out of the post to set up scoring chances for his teammates. Also, he did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing a solid motor.
He also played adequate defense in this game. Kvitkovskikh would stay in front of opposing ball handlers, and he would poke balls away and deflect passes to help his team get steals and deflections. He also would close out on shooters to force misses, and he also would hold his ground and contest shots in the post to get stops for his team. On the downside, he tended to be caught ball watching and over-help in the paint. Sometimes he would be late to rotate to shooters, which would lead him to allow scores to them. Other times, he would tend to bite on the first move and over-pursue opposing ball handlers, and he would then get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Anton Kvitkovskikh had a solid showing to help lead his team to a win over Astana. Though he may only be an average athlete, he is a skilled, high-motor swingman that tends to make sound decisions in games. His ability to knock down jump shots could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.