Since there is no guarantee that the Detroit Pistons will end with a pick in the top three, they’ll be sure to turn over every stone to find the right fit. One player who could give the Pistons what they need is Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin, who made a big leap in his sophomore season.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player in Pac-12 Tournament led the Wildcats in scoring this season. He knocked down the eighth-most three-pointers in school history and showed promise as a playmaker coming off of ball screens. He was a four-star college prospect at the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City and is currently projected to go anywhere from seventh to 15th in the NBA Draft.
- Position: Guard
- Height: 6-7
- Weight: 195 pounds
- Age: 19
- Key stats: 17.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 45.0% FG, 36.9% 3FG
Scouts like the Arizona sophomore’s frame and athleticism and project that it would help him transition to the NBA much faster. He is an elite spot-up shooter and has a quick first step that allows him to slash aggressively and finish at the rim with good strength as well as solid body control. He’s a strong athlete, who scouts say punishes the rim with thunderous dunks that can ignite a crowd.
Mathurin has a high motor that crashes the offensive boards and plays with lots of energy off the ball and is great in transition. Scouts also consider him an elite cutter due to his ability to switch directions quickly and create separation for himself.
On top of his ability to create space for himself, Mathurin has shown good shot form and is mechanically sound without compromising its consistency. He has good range and shows confidence when called upon for big-time shots. He looks particularly confident from mid-range and scouts like his reads in the pick-and-roll near the free-throw line.
He also has the ability to turn it on in clutch situations and come up big for his team. At just 19, he still has room to develop other skills but his high energy, and determination illustrate that he will do what it takes to make those improvements.
Mathurin has shown some lapses on defense and can be inconsistent with box-outs. Scouts project that early on he could have trouble with other high-energy offensive players since he seems to dedicate a lot of his energy on the offensive end. They noted that he also sometimes gets lost on defense because he is watching the ball and therefore gets outworked when boxing out. Since he has shown he has a high motor, scouts would like to see that translate into transition defense.
While Mathurin still has room to grow, the improvements he made between his freshman and sophomore years at Arizona indicate that he could be successful in the NBA. Should the Pistons select him this year, he would make opposing defenses pay for their lapses in judgment.
With his natural instincts to cut to the basket, he would give guards Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes another lob threat. He shot 36.9 percent on 6.1 attempts per game and would give the Pistons another solid shooter from deep, especially since Mathurin is a solid spot-up shooter. Mathurin has a high release on his shots and doesn’t seem to get rattled by defenders easily.