NBA Draft Profile: Is Bennedict Mathurin Worthy of a Top 5 Pick?
While the top three prospects have become the topic of discussion heading into the 2022 NBA Draft, tons of talent remains outside of those spots in what is shaping up to be a loaded class of prospects. We take a look at Bennedict Mathurin, a consensus All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year that has a shot at cracking the top five selections on Thursday night.
Mathurin’s height, weight, and wingspan won’t jump off the page, but he will. The Pac-12 product has freakish bounce, and speed in transition. He’s never afraid to lay down the hammer on opposing defenders (just ask TCU’s Eddie Lampkin Jr.). At 6’7″, he has the appropriate size to thrive at the guard position and even be a capable contributor on the boards. He averaged 5.6 rebounds per game in his sophomore season.
The 20-year-old has an NBA-ready jumper and has zero hesitation from beyond the arc. He clearly preferred to catch-and-shoot after running through a myriad of off-ball screens where he then shows off his quick release before his defender can meet him at his spot. It’s not common to see someone with his level of athleticism paired with a consistent outside jumper but when it does come together, it can make for a nightmare to guard. Give him space and he’ll light it up from deep or faceguard him and he’ll beat you to the basket on off-ball cuts every time.
Mathurin’s biggest shortcoming comes with shot creation and his ability off the dribble. Barring a drastic improvement, it’s not likely you will see the All-American creating his own shot attempts or beating defenders to the cup with the rock in his hand. He relies on quick, off-ball movement that leads to open looks and transition buckets to score his points. The concern here is if that may give him a slightly lower ceiling than the prospects that surround him within the top ten of this class.
Bennedict Mathurin may not have been a household name this past season due to Arizona’s games mostly taking place long after the east coast is asleep, but he can be the real deal. There are certainly areas for him to improve upon his game, but he is such a raw talent that it’s worth taking a player who can likely contribute right away while having that star potential down the road in his career.
Even if he doesn’t crack the top five, don’t expect him to last much longer beyond that slot.
Projection: Top 10 | Current NBA Comparison: J.R. Smith