The Blue and Gold made the former Arizona Wildcats standout the sixth overall selection in last Thursday’s 2022 NBA Draft.
— Bennedict Mathurin (@BennMathurin) June 24, 2022
Although Indy couldn’t pluck highly-coveted guard Jaden Ivey from the draft pool, they get a potential game changer in Mathurin.
No, he isn’t better than LeBron James.
However, this rookie will make some noise in the Association, for sure.
Let’s check out some of the ways Mathurin can help the Blue and Gold next season.
He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 210 pounds – it’s a safe bet Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle will play him more as a shooting guard.
The likeliest scenario is Mathurin coming off the bench to relieve veteran guard Buddy Hield.
Mathurin, the Pac-12 Player of the Year who averaged 17.7 points per game in his sophomore season with the Arizona Wildcats – has a solid offensive arsenal.
He can slash to the basket, make medium-range jumpers, and drain threes.
He is a confident player who doesn’t fear the most intimidating shot blockers.
On that note, he should average between 10 to 15 points in his rookie year in Indy – anything more than that is a huge bonus.
If the rumored Malcolm Brogdon for John Collins trade somehow falls through, Mathurin will provide more scoring punch for the Pacers’ backcourt.
A Bennedict Mathurin-Tyrese Haliburton tandem should set the tone for the Pacers backcourt for years to come.
Carlisle starting the younger and more athletic Mathurin over Hield is also a possibility if the Pacers want to jump ahead of slower, plodding teams.
The rookie isn’t known for his playmaking and passing abilities – he should refine those areas as he gains more experience in the NBA.
However, Mathurin can hold his own on defense.
In fact, some experts believe he will become a solid two-way player for the Pacers.
That bodes well for Indiana, the league’s 26th-worst defensive unit that gave up 114.9 points per game in the 2021-22 NBA campaign.
With Mathurin and a healthier Myles Turner on board, that trend will change next season.
Paul George was the Pacers’ best two-way player in recent franchise history.
Can Mathurin surpass him in that regard?
That’s an intriguing possibility, to say the least.
We’ll say this – Mathurin is a feisty competitor.
While he is a rookie, his toughness will rub off on his teammates, for sure.
Bennedict Mathurin is ready for LeBron James 👀🔥 pic.twitter.com/zVT2JxU8TC
— Alex Golden (@AlexGoldenNBA) June 24, 2022
Mathurin made headlines in the aftermath of the 2022 NBA Draft when he said he’s better than LeBron James.
When James and the Lakers square off against the Pacers next season, we’ll see exactly what Mathurin is made of.
One thing’s for sure, though: he will help the Blue and Gold rise from the ashes in the 2021-22 NBA season.