NBA Draft: Why the Detroit Pistons should draft Sandro Mamukelashvili

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 03: Sandro Mamukelashvili #23 of the Seton Hall Pirates (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 03: Sandro Mamukelashvili #23 of the Seton Hall Pirates (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 11: Sandro Mamukelashvili #23 of the Seton Hall Pirates (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons NBA Draft:  Sandro Mamukelashvili’s strengths

Mamukelashvili is a unique big man prospect in that he can handle and his game is built around that. Pull up any of his highlights from this past season and you will see he moves and handles almost like a guard. Smooth is how I would describe him with the ball in his hands. Put on any game film and his ability to get out and run with the ball or operate out the pick-and-roll will be what the commentators remark about his game.

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In addition to being able to handle the ball, he can use that to create for others. He posted ten games this past season with 4 or more assists. For a big man that is rare. To put Mamukelashvili’s playmaking in context, Cade Cunningham had 11 games of four or more assists, Jaden Springer had eight, and in one season Sandro posted more four or more assist games than James Bouknight had for his entire two year career at UConn (two games).

Mamukelashvili is also a good shooter. His percentage for this past season may seem below average, but context here is key. For one, Seton Hall asked him to be the primary scorer, share primary playmaking responsibilities with Shavar Reynolds, AND be a primary floor spacer (he took 125 threes which was the most on the team). He had the most offensive responsibility and so his percentage suffered as a result of needing to be one of the guys shooting threes at a high rate.

His junior season also saw him post a 43.4 percent from distance on 2.7 attempts per game so he is more efficient when he has others who can help him out in that department. His free throw percentage this past season was also a career high at 71.4 percent on a VASTLY increased volume of 4.9 attempts per game.

He also shot better as the season progressed this year hitting 34.7 percent of his threes in his final 15 games. This should be a positive indicator are he was able to shoot better—even if slightly—as defense gave him extra attention and focused on stopping him first and foremost.