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Bucks Move Two Rookies to Wisconsin Herd

The 54th and 60th picks in this year’s draft are headed to Oshkosh.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t always get what you want, and for some fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, what they want is MORE MAMU. You might not find that at Fiserv Forum for a little while, as both second round rookies are moving to the Wisconsin Herd as the G-League affiliate starts training camp.

This should come as no surprise, given how much room to grow each player has. Let’s start with Mamukelashvili, who is on a two-way contract with Milwaukee. Drafted at 54 overall, Mamu came from Seton Hall as a do-it-all big on offense with limited athleticism and defensive tools. That has largely been the case during his tenure with the Bucks; in his 50 minutes of NBA play, Mamu has flashed an uncanny understanding where where to be on the court, and on offense the signs are largely positive. He moves the ball well, is a willing screen-setter, and generally makes good decisions. He seems to “get it” on defense as well, but he simply lacks the size, quickness, and decisiveness to actually execute. Most recently against the Indiana Pacers, Mamu had a stretch where he had his lunch eaten by Domantas Sabonis and he struggled to contain the Sabonis-Malcolm Brogdon pick-and-roll.

Fortunately, this is all what we expect from a late second round pick, and Mamu will have a chance to develop in the G-League while playing a larger role against non-NBA competition. It surely won’t be a walk in the park, but if you haven’t found a way to tune into Herd games yet, Mamu may be reason enough to look into it.

Next to him on the bus to Oshkosh is fellow rookie Georgios Kalaitzakis, who was a surprise draftee by any Bucks fans who didn’t realize that he shares an agent with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Still, Kalaitzakis showed some interesting talent in Las Vegas over the summer and in training camp, but he probably needs developmental reps more than anybody on the team. There’s an NBA frame there, but Kalaitzakis’ shot appears to be non-functional, ending the superficial Bogdan Bogdanovic comparisons as soon as they begin.

It’s fair to read all this and think that Mamu should be the one with a standard contract, and Georgios would be on a two-way deal. The devil, as always, is in the details; those things are reversed entirely due to a clause in the CBA barring teams from signing two-ways with players they acquire using a buyout in an international league. So while Kalaitzakis has more NBA years on his contract than Mamukelashvili, it’s probably a crapshoot predicting which one will last in the NBA longer. In any case, that’s the reason for the difference between Sandro being “transferred” and Georgios being “assigned” to the Wisconsin Herd. Functionally, there’s no difference, and the Bucks will have a slightly thinner bench as a result.

Here’s hoping that this transaction is a sign that Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez are on the mend, so we can get back to enjoying the Bucks at full strength!