On a San Antonio Spurs team that launched, traded, and waived the contracts of many players this past season, one name is unforgettable, albeit unpronounceable at first sight.
Mamukelashvili, or “Mamu” as he has been aptly nicknamed, celebrates his 24th birthday today.
The New York born, Georgian-raised (that’s Georgia in Russia, not the Peach State) big ma’s grandmother was once a member of the Soviet Women’s National Basketball team. In other words, he’s got the genetic makeup of a baller.
And ball he did once he arrived here in san Antonio. Although he was only with the team since March, he spent the last nineteen games of the regular season making an impact averaging over 10 points per game while shooting over 50%. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but it may be enough to nab him a spot this summer. If the Spurs don’t keep him, he is a viable asset to almost any team’s roster.
I, for one, hope to see him on the roster even if he has to take some sideline time while the starters build their communication.
Mamu came in looking more ready for the NBA than many with similar time on the hardwood. Sean Elliott attributed that to his four years of college, something many in the NBA do not experience these days. The time in a consistent system has elevated his basketball IQ. Finding the Spurs put him in a system where those surrounding him welcomed him and encouraged him to find his footing from the start.
The former Seton Hall Pirate was 54th overall in 2021 (hence his jersey number), and got his start in Milwaukee where he played in 65 games over two seasons before being waived as the Bucks solidified their playoff roster. It took days, but the Spurs got him down to the Alamo City just in time to let him show off a bit.
Here’s to hoping we get some more of that.
Happy birthday, Mamu.
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