3 things to watch as Milwaukee Bucks take on pesky Detroit Pistons

Nov 2, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Sandro Mamukelashvili
Dec 2, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

After picking up a win in their final home game of the regular season (and their 50th win!) in a pivotal playoff seeding game, the Milwaukee Bucks play their final back-to-back tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

The Bucks are 2-1 against the Pistons this season but could be in line for another loss tonight with how hard Detroit has been playing lately and seems like a very obvious rest game for Milwaukee’s best players.

They only have two games left this season and could go all out in both to secure the 2nd seed in the East, but with how they’ve operated the last couple of seasons, I’d be surprised if they prioritized seeding over rest. I’m going to go into this expecting them to rest guys and let the chips fall where they may in regards to seeding.

The Milwaukee Bucks should give Sandro Mamukelashvili a bunch of playing time tonight

If the Bucks want to truly punt this game but also still have some purpose behind it, giving a ton of minutes to Sandro Mamukelashvili would be a great way to start.

Mamukelashvili was relied upon a lot early in the season as the Bucks navigated through injuries as well as health and safety protocols with their front-court players but as they got healthier, it meant less NBA playing time for the second-rounder.

He did play nearly 23 minutes last week against the Los Angeles Clippers in a situation like what I expect to happen tonight and posted eight points, four rebounds (three offensive), two assists, and two blocks. It’s not eye-popping, but as long as he’s getting reps against NBA competition, I’m happy.

Because, well, let’s face it, Mamukelashvili might be too good for the G League. In 16 games for the Wisconsin Herd, he’s averaging 20.4 points on 63.1 percent true shooting (over 41 percent from 3 on 5.3 attempts per game),10.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.0 blocks.

That includes a game where he put up 30 points and 21 boards!

I liked what we saw in the limited sample of games from Mamukelashvili earlier in the season. His skill set is so unique that I hope we get to see him in a bit bigger role next season. The Bucks now have an open roster spot after waiving DeAndre’ Bembry so perhaps they’re thinking about converting the rookie’s two-way deal into a standard one.

They’ll need to find ways to get cheap production from their rotation players in the coming years and nailing a pick like Mamukelashvili would be a fantastic way to do that. So let him play all the minutes he can handle tonight and see what you’ve got!