San Antonio Spurs Draft

2022 NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Pre-lottery look at every team's best option

Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Bennedict Mathurin, 2022 NBA Mock Draft
Bennedict Mathurin - TCU v Arizona / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

69. Arizona. Bennedict Mathurin. 8. player. . . Wing

By now, legitimate playoff expectations are reasonable for New Orleans hopefuls. The team has three elite players to run the show, high-level rotation players who know their roles, and one of the rising stars in the coaching world, Willie Green. With their first-round draft pick, the Pelicans are in a position to add someone whose baseline expertise aligns with the team’s philosophy, making Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin a natural fit.

Like many others in his class, Mathurin used his second season in college to elevate his status in the draft conversation. Strong yet nimble with ideal size for a modern wing, Mathurin has a core offensive skill set of shooting and slashing that he expanded greatly when becoming Zona’s top dog. He’s an unselfish player who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective while still flashing high-caliber upside if he develops as a shot-creator. 

Last season, he began leveraging defensive attention to dish some surprising passes. There’s good reason to wonder if he has more to give than a traditional shooting specialist in the pros. Still, whichever team lands Mathurin will find immediate functional value in his relocation and catch-and-shoot accuracy. 

But what they’ll fall in love with is the way he prioritizes the team over himself. Mathurin has no trouble playing in sync with others, demanding the ball when need be while settling into the flow of an offense when they’re rolling. With years of opportunity in a structure that sharpens his talent, there’s a chance for Mathurin to be a very special two-way player. Even if those heights don’t come to fruition, there’s a long-term place for him in this league.

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