Standing at nearly 7 feet tall, Sandro Mamukelashvili can operate out of the pick and roll, lead the break in transition and also space the floor. The unique combination of shooting, movement and playmaking for someone his size is ideal for a modern big in today’s NBA.
There are also the occasional thrilling moments like this from the product of Tbilisi, Georgia.
Sandro Mamukelashvili– F/C, 6’11″, 240 lbs., Seton Hall, (21 years old).
Offensive role: Point Forward + Stretch Big
Defensive role: Interior Defender (Traditional 4’s & 5’s)
NBA projected role: Rotation player, low-end starter.
Swing factor: Defense + Consistency
ESPN 2021 Big Board: 54th
My general range: Late 1st/Early 2nd (25-35)
Consistency will be the key with him, because there are moments where he can disappear or struggle, but when he’s on he looks like a sure-fire 1st round pick.
*Stats as of 2/19
- BPM: 7.5
- TS%: .556
- FT Rate: 38.8%
It’s already been alluded to above, but the main appeal in Mamukelashvili’s game are the playmaking flashes mixed in with his ability to stretch the floor as a big man. When you can use your big as a pick-and-pop threat and he can also create out of the P&R as a ball handler it allows you to do some fun things as a team offensively.
He also has a wide array of spin moves off the dribble that allow him to get right to the cup and finish with ease. That patented spin-move should help him in the NBA to create advantages that would otherwise be more difficult to get to. Mamu is a crafty finisher and has extremely sound footwork to get to his spots.
The ability to operate out of the pick and roll both as a creator for others and himself is what stands out the most to me the most. He also grabs boards and takes it the entire length of the court to either finish or find a teammate.
Watch the manipulation of the defense here, followed by the strong crossover craving up three defenders before finishing with the slam. Wildly impressive stuff from a (near) 7 footer.
While his three point shooting percentage has dropped below his career-average, a lot of that has to do with the increase in volume + difficulty. He’s attempted a career-high 7.1 threes per 100 possessions, and his old high was just 5.7. Along with that, the degree of difficulty in some of the shots he’s taken have been off the move or very ambitious which I actually take as a positive to an extent.
The lefty has a quick release that is impossible to block at his size and as mentioned above, he has shown the ability to hit movement threes. He does an excellent job of reading defenses and relocating off-ball.
Here he catches the defense sleeping for a split second and relocates for the deep above the break three.
Here’s another example of his ability to relocate after missing a tough shot. Immediately spots up in the corner as soon as he realizes they got the offensive rebound. Locked and loaded. Money.
Sandro is averaging a career-high in assists per-game at 3.2 and assist rate at 20.7%. Whether it’s grabbing a rebound and leading the break in transition or operating out of the pick and roll, Mamukelashvili certainly has ball skills.
He is a comfortable interior passer that makes patient reads while backing down defenders. Here he finds the open man on the back-cut.
Here he runs the floor in transition, fills the mid-left lane perfectly and makes the quick-hit read to the open man for three. Simple, but these are the types of reads he makes frequently which leads to open looks for his teammates.
The tweet below shows 1:08 of some of his best passing flashes this season. His ability to make quick decisions is incredible. Sandro’s court awareness is also very impressive as illustrated below:
Sandro Mamukelashvili is a very, very, very fun passer pic.twitter.com/wsXNv1hdsx
— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) January 27, 2021
There are some lateral movement and athletic limitations for the big fella, but overall I think if used as a 5 he could survive defensively in the NBA. While not the most explosive athlete, he’s had moments where he flashes athleticism whether it’s blocking or cutting off quicker players.
Here he understands he needs to close out hard on the sharpshooting Justin Moore, and does a nice job recovering to cut off the drive and force him to kick it out.
His defensive intensity is what mainly stands out to me, as he’s someone that plays hard on that end which is all you can ask for. As mentioned the consistency (on both ends) can be lackluster at times, so this comes with the “when he’s engaged” caveat.
This play is an example where if he’s challenged directly when engaged he has the ability to protect the rim.
The main issues with him come when attacked off-the-dribble in space by quicker players, or if he falls asleep help-side. While he won’t ever be an elite defender, he is best served as a deterrent that plays aggressive and can handle bigs down low.
While ultimately this is just a tough shot and great move by Gillespie, these are the types of space creation plays where Sandro could struggle and get targeted at the next level.
While he may not have the best selling points defensively, when you remind yourself of his offensive acumen and versatility on that end it’s something you can live with.
Role + Fits in the NBA
One team that immediately comes into mind with how they use Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky is my hometown Phoenix Suns. James Jones loves playmaking, floor spacing bigs that can keep the ball moving in Monty Williams’ “0.5 System”.
Some other team-fits I would enjoy for the Seton Hall big man:
- Sacramento Kings
- Dallas Mavericks
- Charlotte Hornets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Miami Heat
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Categories: NBA Draft