The Washington Wizards don’t have a good track record with French players. Their first French player, Kevin Seraphin was a bust. Ronny Turiaf was a midseason addition in the 2011-12 season and only played four games in Monumental Red.
Ian Mahinmi was their third, and he’s better known for the size of his contract and foul rate than for leading the team to victory. But maybe, just maybe, things are turning around, even if it’s effectively too late.
Last night, the Wizards beat the Heat. Garrison Mathews and Jordan McRae made career-highs. But Mahinmi kept Washington’s scoring up from the low post where he scored a career-high 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting, made 2-of-3 three pointers, and grabbed 5 rebounds. You can watch his highlights in the video above.
If that weren’t enough, Mahinmi played 28 minutes and committed just ... ONE! UNE! FOUL!
Mahinmi is traditionally viewed as a back-to-the-basket center. He is. But on Sunday, he was more aggressive by driving to the basket, showing off his footwork, and delivered as ... Meessemanesque of a performance that we could have hoped.
Yes, I said it. Mahinmi played a lot like the Washington Mystics forward and 2019 WNBA Finals MVP. As a refresher, let’s watch her highlights during the Finals this past October when she shows her willingness to take perimeter shots or drive to the basket for closer range ones. Mahinmi showed many of those same things last night.
Sure, Meesseman’s movement on the court is a lot more fluid and natural than Mahinmi’s. But at the same time, Mahinmi, a long-time NBA veteran showed that he can play a more diverse game than initially thought.