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Sandro Mamukelashvili dominates in Austin Spurs debut

Mamu shines after requesting time with the G League team.

Austin Spurs v Texas Legends Photo by Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images

Sandro Mamukelashvili was one of the feel good stories of the San Antonio Spurs 2022-23 season. The big man signed with the Spurs after being released by the Bucks. He thrived in a larger role, averaging 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. This season however, he’s struggled to carve out a spot in the rotation, playing just 55 total minutes over the Spurs first 21 games.

According to San Antonio Express-News sportswriter Tom Orsborn, Mamukelashvili requested an assignment to the Austin Spurs G League squad for some game reps. In his first game for Austin, Mamu dominated the Texas Legends in a 124-122 win. He had one of the craziest stat lines I’ve seen this season, putting up 34 points, 22 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Mamukelashvili hit 5-13 shots from deep, and had one of the most important defensive plays of the game.

As time expired, Mamu had the game sealing block. Fellow Spur, Dominick Barlow, was right there too.

Mamukelashvili showed the flash that made Spurs fans fall in love with him last season. He has a proclivity toward show-stopping plays that are fueled by his creativity with the ball in his hands and above-average vision for a big man.

It’s great to see Mamu playing freely again. It seemed to benefit San Antonio last year when they let him be himself. His non-traditional style of play would add some much needed offensive creativity off the bench to the NBA squad. They could use another ball handler and playmaker alongside their play finishers like Victor Wembanyama.

A swing skill for Mamu is his shooting. He becomes a dangerous offensive weapon when he’s hitting three-point shots. He’s not a player known to punish opponents on the low block. Hitting a high percentage of his three point shots off the ball only strengthens his ability to be a connective piece with his playmaking.

Mamu wasn’t the only player splitting time between the G League and pro roster who had a good game. Barlow has been great for Austin this season. He had 26 points and 7 rebounds (and also 7 turnovers,) in the win. Blake Wesley has been getting some reps for the G League team, and scored 27 points.

As the San Antonio Spurs continue to tinker with their rotation, it will be interesting to see if Mamukelashvili or Barlow get a few minutes with the pro team. Charles Bassey was just assigned to the G League on Sunday. With Zach Collins now coming off the bench, it may be hard for these other young bigs to get minutes. Austin provides a good opportunity for Bassey, Mamu and Barlow to hone their skills.

Check out Mamukelashvili’s full highlights below: