Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin visits Pacers and is one of the most intriguing options at No. 6
"I’ll bring winning to the team': One of the best shooters in the draft, Mathurin will also bring scoring, playmaking and toughness to whomever drafts him.
Bennedict Mathurin is in Indianapolis to visit with Pacers officials Friday afternoon.
But we won’t see him and won’t get to talk to him like we do every other prospect. This is the first time in my decade covering the team that I remember a player working out for the Pacers and choosing not to talk with the media.
Typically, the Pacers are hosting players who get drafted in the teens and 20s; Mathurin is a projected lottery pick. After the Pacers’ 25-57 season, they will select inside the top 10 for the first time since 1989 — and players taken that high have leverage.
Elite draft prospects like Mathurin, who is expected to be off the board within the first eight picks of the NBA Draft in two weeks, keep their visits to a minimum.
There are three key things their agents can control in this situation.
Which teams they visit.
When they talk to the media.
And most importantly, which teams get their medical information.
For top draft candidates like Mathurin and Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, it’s good to be in demand. And in the mind of their agents, why do more — potentially risking injury or saying something that could negatively impact a player — when you can do less?
Unlike Ivey and the other likely top-four picks, Mathurin did meet with myself and other reporters at the draft combine back on May 19. For more than 15 minutes inside Wintrust Arena, he answered questions about his game, NBA fit, which teams he met with and more.
“It’s not about going high or low, it’s all about going to the right spot,” he said. “And I’ll bring winning to the team. I want to go to a team and win a championship and get better as a player.”
Mathurin is one of the top shooters in this draft class. He shot 42% from distance during his freshman year and 37% last year on almost twice as many attempts. He was a consistent scorer too.
He finished in double figures in 34 of 37 games, scored at least 20 points in 14 games, and hit several big shots in the NCAA Tournament.
He’s got a big, sturdy frame. Think Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine or Mikal Bridges.
In Chicago at the draft combine, he measured 6-foot-6 with a 6-9 wingspan and his 8-8 standing reach was among the best for guards.
Mathurin is a physical, attacking guard who can finish through contact. The NBA is about having scorers and playmakers — and he certainly fits that criteria.
Here’s how he describes his game: “I think my shooting is the biggest part of my game. I think I’m a two-way player. I think I’m able to showcase getting a stop defensively. I get it for 30 seconds and we get the dub because I get a stop or offensively, because I’m able to shoot the ball and just have an impact.”