The Milwaukee Bucks began the day of the 2021 NBA Draft with the 31st overall pick and ended it with two late second-rounders and two more future second-round selections.
Before the draft began, Milwaukee shipped the first pick in the second round to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for the 54th and 60th selections as well as two future second-round picks (one in 2024 and another in 2026).
Although it can be debated whether this was a smart move by the Bucks–moving out of the 31st spot which would give them a better shot at acquiring someone who can contribute in 2021 or soon thereafter instead of dropping 24 picks in the draft–it helped Milwaukee acquire some draft capital they’ve lost in recent seasons. Draft capital they may very well use in future trades.
The Bucks were also able to select two players who have a chance to make their roster on very cheap deals. The financial aspect is important for Milwaukee as they will be deep into the luxury tax this season and could end up with a huge bill depending on what happens with PJ Tucker and their trade exceptions. These two selections with join Sam Merrill (last year’s 60th overall pick), Jordan Nwora (last year’s 45th overall pick), Mamadi Diakte, and Elijah Bryant as younger players on cheap deals at the end of Milwaukee’s bench.
The Milwaukee Bucks had a fairly active 2021 NBA draft and ended up making two selections toward the end of the second round.
Back to the draft. With the 54th overall pick, the Bucks selected Sandro Mamukelashvili, a big man out of Seton Hall. Then with the last pick in the draft, they grabbed Georgios Kalaitzakis out of Greece.
Mamukelshavili is the more intriguing of the two prospects. He was The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s 45th ranked prospect and Vecenie described him as possibly the “most bizarre player in the 2021 NBA Draft” and also said he “can’t emphasize enough how weird his game is.”
He played four seasons at Seton Hall and got better and better every year. In his senior year, he averaged 17.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 33.6 percent from the three-point line, 71.4 percent from the free throw line and 43.4 percent from the field.
He’s got some ball-handling skills that could allow him to bring the ball up the court on occasion. He has the potential to grab rebounds and lead the fast break without finding a guard to outlet to. That will be a fun experiment to watch how it plays out at the NBA level. His ability to dribble and move in and out of moves is impressive for someone who is 6-foot-11. He’s also a solid passer that will aid him in setting up teammates.
The jumper is going to be his key on offense. He had a down senior year at Seton Hall shooting wise and he’ll have to find consistency if he’s going to stick around in the pros. Can he provide the necessary spacing Milwaukee needs?
Defense is another question mark. Milwaukee will definitely have to hide him when he’s on the floor and sandwich him between other elite defenders.
Overall, it’s a very interesting pick for the Bucks. With Summer League right around the corner, it will be fun to get some more eyes on Mamukelshavili and see how he does against better competition. I’m sure it will be a roller coaster of a ride, but we’ll enjoy every moment of the draft’s “most bizarre” player.