Bennedict Mathurin, guard out of Arizona, made noise in the NCAA tournament 30 points in the Wildcats win over TCU. At his ceiling he could explode on a Donovan Mitchell like trajectory and become a lead guard in the backcourt, at his floor he will be a solid 6-foot-6 3-and-D wing.
Mathurin shot 36.9% on 6.1 attempts in his sophomore year at Arizona. While showing an ability to play with and without the ball. Arizona had Dalen Terry and Kerr Kriisa in the backcourt, who handled initiating the offense much of the time, but I believe Mathurin showcased an ability to be a high-level scorer with the ball in his hands. He still averaged 2.5 assists and is not simply a spot-up shooter.
His first year in the league he will likely be relied on to play defense, space the floor, attack closeouts, and handle some secondary pick-and-roll.
Mathurin has been rising and his range is likely from the Pistons at five to the Wizards at 10. He seems to have firmly placed himself in the tier just below the top-three and Ivey.
Detroit Pistons (Pick No. 5)
You may notice a trend in these picks, but I want to place Mathurin next to a big guard who is willing to play make for others. Mathurin would complement Cade Cunningham really well as another oversized backcourt-mate. Cunningham is willing to play without the ball which would allow Mathurin to flourish as the secondary creator, but when it comes down to it and Cade is making the decisions, Mathurin is a good enough spot up shooter to give him space to cook.
Detroit finished last season with the second lowest three-point percentage and could use an injection of shooting if nothing else. Even if that is their only goal with this pick, then Mathurin is still probably the best option.
Indiana Pacers (Pick No. 6)
Essentially everything I said about Cade Cunningham goes for Tyrese Haliburton. A big lead guard not afraid to give up the ball and who makes great decisions. Mathurin is perfect to play off of Haliburton, while creating a really effective defensive backcourt.
It feels like Indiana is dying to move to No. 4 to draft Jaden Ivey and they would do so with the exact same logic as drafting Mathurin at six. If the Pacers stay put and Mathurin is still there, I don’t see why they would let him slide past. Not to mention they are trying to trade, oft-injured Malcolm Brogdon this off-season.
New Orleans Pelicans (Pick No. 8)
To me, something catastrophic has happened if Mathurin gets past the Pelicans. I even like the fit for him at No. 7 to Portland, but New Orleans is even more tailor made for Mathurin. They finished near the bottom of the league in three point shooting last year and Mathurin can fit well in any lineup for New Orleans. He fits next to CJ McCollum because Mathurin can take on the toughest backcourt defensive assignment and space the floor, and he fits next to someone like Herb Jones or Jose Alvarado as the offensive initiator in the backcourt.
Obviously he will never need to be the main playmaker, as we have seen “Point Zion” before and Brandon Ingram has played the point at times in his career. So, extra floor spacing, backcourt defense, and microwave scoring; a perfect fit.
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