2022 NBA Draft grades: Indiana Pacers select Bennedict Mathurin with No. 6 overall pick
The Indiana Pacers have selected Bennedict Mathurin with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Mathurin’s offense should translate very well to the NBA. He brings the two most important traits any prospect can have: a great jump shot and excellent athleticism. They helped him average 17.7 points per game last on strong shooting numbers across the board, and even if he’s not a point guard, he still contributed a steady 2.5 assists per game. That’s valuable supplementary ball-handling, and the total package should make Mathurin a strong offensive fit from day one.
It remains to be seen exactly what Mathurin will be at the NBA level, our CBS Sports NBA Draft experts really like this selection for the Pacers as it received a grade of an A.
More than any other projected lottery pick, Mathurin is the one whose stock I raised the most after evaluating him compared to what I thought during the season. You dive in, and what is not to like? He’s a 6-6 athletic wing who can do a lot of things and has All-Star potential. Grade: A
The questions for the Arizona guard come on defense, where he still has a lot of work to do if he’s going to survive against NBA-caliber competition. His 6-9 wingspan and strong athletic tools should help, but it’s going to take him time to figure out where he fits in on that end of the floor. Stomach those growing pains, though, and you’ll have a possibly elite shooter with promise all across the court.
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The Pacers aren’t used to selecting this high. Indiana is in the playoffs almost every year, but as the injuries and coaching changes have piled on, the Pacers finally took a step back last season and seemingly initiated a mini rebuild. Long-time starting center Domantas Sabonis was dealt at the trade deadline. So was Caris LeVert, whose 2021 acquisition looked significantly more promising at the time. Now the Pacers are emphasizing youth as they attempt to retool for the future
Fortunately, they’ve got a good amount of it. The Sabonis trade brought the Pacers Tyrese Haliburton, one of the better young point guards in the NBA. Their No. 13 pick a season ago was another guard, sharpshooter Chris Duarte, and those two already gave the Pacers a solid foundation to build on moving forward. Now they’ve added another significant young piece to that core in Mathurin as they attempt to work their way back into the playoff race.