Scene: you work in construction, and it has been a long, 14-hour shift. Before you head home, you stop at your favorite bar for a beer. You arrive, and it's busy, but the bartender sees you and asks if you want your regular; a bottle of Corona. You say yes, and he slides you the beer but forgets to take off the top, so you grab your multi-tool utility clip, which has a bottle opener, and do it yourself. You then look at the guy next to you and say, "Never leave home without it." That's Sandro Mamukelashvili.
Mamu is your do-it-all, versatile player, and the Spurs should not even consider starting the 2023-24 season without him. Standing at 6-foot-10, Mamu is a perfect fit for a developing roster. He is an intelligent big man boasting guard-like passing and ball-handling capabilities. Spurs fans will be familiar with the type of game the American-born Georgian brings. He is essentially a taller, less agile version of Boris Diaw.
There was a smoothness to Diaw's game that Mamu does not possess, but he has shown no issue handling the ball, playing in the post, and finishing around the rim. The value of a player like this lies not in his numerical dominance but in his ability to stabilize multiple lineups. Diaw never looked out of place no matter what group he shared the court with, and neither does Mamukelashvili. His near seven-foot stature gives Mamu the size Diaw did not have, and we have seen him use it well.
Versatile players like this need to land in the right spot to maximize their brand of basketball, and when they do, they often find homes in the league for a long time. They provide impact with timely plays, correct positioning, opportunistic scoring, and overall intelligent basketball. The right spot for a skillset like that is with the San Antonio Spurs. Now I wonder if he likes wine.