Both can bring a lot to the table and play the game with the kind of passion and intelligence that the Lakers have been searching for.
Wagner, who comes from Germany but played his college ball at Michigan, made a mark with his energy and aggressive playing style. He led Michigan to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament but came up short.
“My goal was to play in the NBA. I was kind of under the radar in Europe, so I had to find a way to play on the radar. Michigan was a great opportunity for me. At the same time, I wanted to do something new, experience a new culture. I’m very happy I made that choice.”
With his college career done, Wagner put his name in the NBA Draft and when he found out he was being selected by the Lakers, he broke into tears. It was a big moment and took some time for the shock to wear off.
“I kind of used Friday and the weekend to calm down a little bit. You’re on Cloud Nine after Thursday, and I had to get ready to go to work on Monday and be a professional now. I think everyone in this building is striving for excellence, and I’m very excited to join them.”
While Wagner went in the first round, the Lakers were able to get Mykhailiuk in the second round and were thrilled to do so. He has a real claim to being the best shooter in the draft after averaging 44 percent from three at Kansas. Finding a player who is the best at anything that deep in the second round is certainly not the norm.
Mikhailiuk was born in Ukraine and has spent time playing for their national team, including the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014 months before he arrived at Kansas. While he was playing at a high level at a young age, he dreamt of coming to the United States to play against the best.
“I was thinking about taking a new challenge because I had been playing in Europe for a long time. When I saw college games on TV back home, I thought it looked fun. I also was trying to go the NBA, so for me I thought it would be better to go to college and choose Kansas.”
Of course, even though Mykhailiuk has a wealth of experience, jumping to the NBA will require an adjustment period. He’s already thinking about what challenges he will face.
“I would say figuring out my routine, how to be a pro. Just figuring out the lifestyle.”
Mykhailiuk also explained that despite coming from overseas, both he and Wagner already know a lot about their new team.
“I think both of us knew a lot about the Lakers. It’s a great franchise with a great history and great tradition.”
As part of our efforts to help you understand how we handle the personal information you share with us, and in preparation for the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’ve updated our Privacy & Cookies Policy. The updated Privacy & Cookies Policy will take effect on May 22, 2018. By using our services on or after that date, you’ll be agreeing to our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy. We recommend that you read our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy in full.