• Sudeep Tumma

Scouting Report: Bennedict Mathurin’s Physical Tools, Shot-Making Ability Are Enticing

He has the size, athleticism and skill.

Bennedict Mathurin’s decision to come back a second year is certainly paying dividends.

He was likely to be a late first-round pick had he bolted for the draft following a solid freshman season. Instead, he returned to Arizona for another year, polished his game, improved his decision-making and vaulted his draft stock tenfold.

Mathurin is an NBA-type shot-maker with NBA size and the physical tools to succeed.

It all starts with his formidable jump shot, which has NBA range. Mathurin displays the ability to hit 3-pointers off the catch and on the move. He runs off screens well, works off dribble handoffs, in pick-and-roll situations. And he can score in all those situations.

Along with a fundamental shooting motion with a high release point, he flashes the step back and side step moves off one-dribble pull-ups from deep. Mathurin has deep range and a hefty trigger, ready to release whenever he has an inch of space.

Mathurin rarely pulls up in the mid-range. He doesn’t exhibit much from that aspect on the floor. He also isn’t much of a shot creator and lacks the creativity to manufacture his own shot consistently without off-ball motion and/or penetration from a guard.

His game is pretty simple. There isn’t too much complexity. If he doesn’t get a clean look, he’ll get downhill and attack. But it’s not a reckless approach, Mathurin has a serene change-of-pace ability. He alters speeds and remains patient when attacking.

As a finisher, he uses his length well to get close to the basket, and he has a trusty stop-and-pop floater in his arsenal.

The 6-6, 210-pound Mathurin has put on 15 pounds since his freshman year, which has helped his finishing, but he still has a ways to go. He routinely struggles to finish through contact, often opting to fade away from the defender than going into the body. He lacks a level of physicality you desire.

Still, his athleticism leads to more fruitful looks than not. He’s a quick-twitch athlete with superb speed and tremendous leaping ability.

With an explosive first step, Mathurin can pump fake and go or catch the ball and attack closeouts. He flashes quality body control. He does, however, have a tendency to favor his right hand as a finisher.

Overall, Mathurin has made strides in regards to his shot selection and overall decision-making. He needs to continue to tidy up in that area as he hopes to further improve on his efficiency: 46.8 FG% and 37.9 3PT%.

He plays well within the confines of a talented Arizona team. Mathurin moves beautifully without the ball. He has the instincts on when his defender is biting and/or falls asleep and the athleticism to make those lucrative backdoor cuts.

He’s equally effective in transition. He possesses the speed to dribble down with the ball in his hands or act as a rim runner. Mathurin also bounces out for spot-up 3-pointers in transition, which is an analytically sound shot attempt.

With all this, Mathurin has elevated himself to a 17.3 point-per-game scorer. But he also leverages that scoring to find teammates when he’s doubled.

Mathurin isn’t a top-tier passer or anything, but he has a canny ability to find guys on lobs and kick-outs. He averages 2.5 assists, which arises from his willingness to pass.

You also have to love his rebounding prowess. Mathurin crashes the boards regularly — on both sides of the floor.

He does a sound job boxing out when there’s a man on his back, and he’s always looking to crash and secure the board. He averages 5.7 rebounds, and you could make an argument that number would be higher if he wasn’t playing next to 7-1 Christian Koloko, 6-11 Azuolas Tubelis and 7-0 Oumar Ballo off the bench.

Mathurin really digs in as a rebounder, which he does as a defender as well.

His defensive intensity is superb. He really sticks in well one-on-one and uses his 6-9 wingspan to disrupt ball-handlers.

I really love how he sticks off-ball. He switches matchups with ease, on and off-ball. But he really sticks with his man as he moves around the court. Mathurin displays an apt ability to fight around picks and stay in the play.

He slides well as a help defender, but he could rotate harder as he doesn’t always rotate perfectly in time, which leaves him exposed.

Overall, he takes defense seriously. That’s obviously the second component of the 3&D label being bestowed upon his draft profile.

Mathurin averages only 1.7 turnovers a game. He plays a clean game with improving shot selection. With the size, skills and savvy to slide in and help NBA teams, Mathurin should be a boon to whichever team drafts him.

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