Milwaukee Bucks: Sandro Mamukelashvili is destined to be a fan favorite

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have no shortage of fan-favorites on their roster following a historic championship run this past season.

Bobby Portis, also known as “The People’s Champ,” certainly takes the top spot on that list as his energy and hustle quickly helped the fanbase gravitate to him. Playing a key role throughout their title run, Fiserv Forum oftentimes erupted with “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby!” chants whenever the big man took the court. Alongside him are players like Thanasis Antetkounmpo and Mamandi Diakite, with Jordan Nwora quickly working his way up in the rankings.

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The Bucks genuinely have a very likable roster with players that are easy to root for, and a player that is already getting love from fans is Sandro Mamukelashvili.

When the Bucks selected Mamukelashvili with the 54th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, many were unsure of who he was initially. After a look at his highlight reel from four years of college basketball at Seton Hall, fans were sold on what the 22-year-old might bring to the table.

Standing at a towering 6-foot-11 while weighing 240 pounds, what stood out the most from an initial viewing of Mamukelashvili’s highlight reel was his pristine passing ability. For a player of his size, the big man had a solid handle on the basketball and finding his teammates with some flashy passing. This immediately drew comparisons to Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, who is among the best passers in the game today.

Of course, we should pump the brakes on that comparison just a tad, as the reigning league MVP is truly a one-of-one player right now. Still, Mamukelashvili’s passing potential is promising for a player of his build and could create some highlight-reel-worthy plays sooner or later.

Sandro Mamukelashvili could currently be a fan-favorite in the making for the Milwaukee Bucks

While fans had been busy watching Mamukelashvili’s highlights since he was drafted, they got a genuine look at him in Monday’s Summer League opener.

While Jordan Nwora certainly stole the show with 30 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in the 81-78 victory, Mamukelashvili earned some spotlight himself. He finished with a double-double by totaling 11 points and 12 rebounds. The big man struggled to put the ball in the hoop all night as he shot just 3-of-8 from the floor, including 0-of-2 from behind the arc. He would get a huge boost from the free throw line by shooting 5-for-6 on the night.

As for Mamukelashvili’s rebounding numbers, he was fantastic on the glass, consistently crashing it on both ends of the floor. He would grab six rebounds on each side of the floor, which is certainly something worth mentioning. The Bucks are a team that typically emphasizes attacking the glass offensively, and seeing Mamukelashvili grab six offensive rebounds in his first action showcased promise that he could fit right in.

Lastly, the big man finished the night off by handing out four assists, showing off some of that prolific passing prowess fans had been anticipating. Indeed several of the passes made by him were worthy of making it on the future highlight reel.

For reference, check out this slick wraparound pass to Mamadi Diakite.

Next, look at this dime to Jordan Nwora for the triple in the corner.

All in all, Mamukelashvili unquestionably made a strong first impression in his Summer League debut with the Bucks. While it was just one game, and there should not be a mass overreaction, it is hard denying that the 22-year-old looked solid. With several more Summer League games on the schedule, Mamukelashvili will continue to show off his potential in the coming days.

Being on a two-way deal, Mamukelashvili will likely not see much time for the Bucks once next season officially begins. In a frontcourt that is loaded with talents like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis, Mamukelashvili will get to learn from a savvy group of players as he looks to find his footing in this league.

He looks like he could develop into an interesting and unique player. While he might not put up the gaudiest numbers nightly, Mamukelashvili’s flashy passing and persistent emphasis on attacking the glass should have fans rooting for him.

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While Mamukelashvili might not receive many meaningful minutes in the rotation next season, do not be surprised if “Mamu, Mamu, Mamu!” chants break out at some point.