The Detroit Pistons are in the midst of a franchise rebuild and are starting at the bottom. They got a leap in the restart by selecting Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick in last year’s draft. Detroit finished with a 23-59 record this season and still has a long way to go in the developmental process. They will be searching for another key piece of the puzzle in the draft this year. The Pistons hold the 5th overall pick and have a chance to add an impact player.
While there seems to be a consensus for the top three picks, the draft is unclear beyond this. There has been one prospect who has not gotten enough attention as a top pick in this draft class. Bennedict Mathurin has seemingly flown under the national radar as a top pick. But there is a real chance the top selecting teams will regret passing on him a few years down the line. Bennedict Mathurin is a perfect fit in the modern NBA and would be a terrific building block for the Pistons’ long-term vision.
3 reasons Bennedict Mathurin would be perfect pick for Pistons at No. 5 in 2022 NBA Draft
Fit with Cade Cunningham
The Pistons have already established Cade Cunningham as the face of the franchise. The top pick had a successful rookie year averaging 17.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. Cunningham was named an All-NBA Rookie First Team member for his productive season. Each decision should be based on optimizing his talent. This is a massive reason why Bennedict Mathurin is the correct pick.
Which potential Pistons draft pick would complement Cade Cunningham best?@JLEdwardsIII takes a closer look at the options, including Bennedict Mathurin.https://t.co/cH1XewSu2g pic.twitter.com/bIxKlnGQEQ
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) June 15, 2022
While Cunningham can certainly score the basketball, he is at his best as a playmaker who can run the offense. Mathurin is a scoring-oriented shooting guard who possesses legitimate star potential. He excels at shooting off of screens or in motion. Arizona ran many plays that involved freeing up Mathurin with his off-ball movement and creating a shot for him. The 6’6″ guard is also an elite athlete who can be a terror in transition. In total, he averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game this past season at Arizona.
Need for Scoring
One of the looming factors surrounding the future of the Pistons is what happens to Jerami Grant. The 28-year-old does not fit the timeline of the current Pistons roster and has been connected to multiple teams in trade rumors this offseason. Even with Grant on the team, the Pistons will need a scoring boost. The franchise ranked 28th in the NBA in scoring last season with 104.8 points per game. If Grant is traded away the need for scoring will become even more important.
This is the exact problem Bennedict Mathurin can solve. While he is a good rebounder for his size and has intriguing playmaking potential, Mathurin is at his best when scoring the basketball. The 19-year-old shot 36.9% from three this season on 6.1 attempts per game. Saddiq Bey was the only player on the Pistons to have more volume from deep last season. Mathurin is one of the best three-point shooting prospects in the class on a team that needs this skillset.
There are several other impressive shooting splits to like about Mathurin. The Arizona guard scored 1.43 points per possession (PPP) in transition and had 38 total dunks on the season. Mathurin is not afraid to attempt to dunk it on an opponent’s head and Arizona also did a good job of utilizing backdoor cuts to set him up with lob opportunities. The Pac-12 Second-Team All-American also converted 1.43 PPP on cuts as evidence of this.
Some players possess an “it factor” beyond the stats. Bennedict Mathurin certainly fits the category as one of these guys. The Arizona standout is never afraid to step into the moment and talk some trash to let you know about it. He scored 20 or more points in 14 games this season. Perhaps his most notable performance came in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Mathurin scored 30 points along with eight rebounds and four assists in the matchup. He connected on five three-pointers including a clutch three to tie the game with 12.6 seconds to go.
Can confirm, BEN MATHURIN IS CLUTCH 🙌
Arizona and TCU deadlocked at 75 with 12.6 seconds to go!pic.twitter.com/EAz1mtdkLp
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 21, 2022
His willingness to step up and take control in big moments is especially intriguing. Mathurin spent two seasons at Arizona and still has plenty of room to grow. He has the true potential to grow into a legitimate three-level scorer. His ability to impact the game with and without the ball is a massive asset.
The biggest red flag in his game is on the defensive end, but he has the size and tools to improve. Allowing Mathurin the time to develop and explore his true ceiling could pay off greatly in the long run. While he may not have received the same amount of hype, there is a legitimate chance he ends up the best prospect in the class. The high-floor and elite potential of Bennedict Mathurin make him a perfect fit for the Detroit Pistons.