The Milwaukee Bucks kicked off their 2021-22 preseason schedule today, and it was certainly an interesting turn of events.
They were significantly shorthanded coming in, with the leading trio all set to miss the game due to various health reasons. With Donte DiVincenzo, Bobby Portis, Rodney Hood, and Semi Ojeleye also sitting out, the door was open for some other players to see more playing time. That is just what transpired as head coach Mike Budenholzer dug deep into his bench and gave the youthful Memphis Grizzlies his best shot. The Bucks managed to hang around for most of the game, but their night was cut short after the fire alarm rang out after the third quarter. It was later revealed that there was not an actual fire, thankfully.
That is where the action between the Bucks and Grizzlies ceased, with the latter leading 87-77 at the end of the third and the game being called off. Although it is not the result fans hoped to see in Milwaukee’s return to action, it was great to see the defending champions back out on the floor, even if they were missing some key pieces. Bucks basketball is back, and here are three takeaways from last night’s game.
Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ preseason loss to the Memphis Grizzlies: Sandro Mamukelashvili turns heads in extended minutes
Sandro Mamukelashvili has been under a microscope from the moment that the Bucks took him with the 54th pick in this past draft. The big man’s college highlight tape has captivated fans far and wide as Mamukeliashvili has a knack for distributing the basketball like few men of his stature can. He showed signs of potential during the Summer League with the Bucks, but he would see more minutes with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Portis sidelined last night.
Indeed, he looked good in his preseason debut by tallying nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, with one of those misses coming from behind the arc. Mamukelashvili looked great around the basket as he looked to score, but he also showed off that facilitating prowess by dishing out three assists to his teammates. Yet, what seemingly stood out the most from the big man was his rebounding, where he pulled down seven on the night. An eye-catching five of those came on the offensive end, as he consistently kept the play alive as he fought for the boards.
Having played just a tick under 17 minutes off the bench, it was a solid debut for Mamukelashvil. While no one expects him to play a massive role for the Bucks during his upcoming rookie season, it is always welcoming to see a newcomer show some potential. One area that has been listed as a potential concern for the Bucks has been their lack of depth at the center position, and it looks like Mamukelashvili is trying to make his presence known in that regard.