The Trail Blazers’ forgettable 2021-22 season is in the books and it is time to turn our attention to the 2022 NBA Draft. Unlike recent years, Portland possess multiple picks in this year’s process. After finishing the regular season with a 27-55 record, the Blazers enter the lottery draw with the sixth-best odds in the NBA. Buoyed by those odds, the Blazers are poised to exit the draft with the rights to a marquee prospect.
Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin is the subject of today’s draft profile. During his two-year run in Tucson, Mathurin blossomed into a multi-dimensional threat.
- Height: 6’7”
- WT: 195
- Wingspan: 6’9”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: SG
- Age: 19
- Projected draft range: 6-10
- PTS: 17.7 | Per 40: 21.8
- REB: 5.6 | Per 40: 6.9
- AST: 2.5 | Per 40: 3.1
- STL: 1.0 | Per 40: 1.2
- FG%: 45.0
- 3P%: 36.9
- FT%: 76.4
Mathurin possesses a multi-dimensional offensive game that appears ready for the NBA. He is a legitimate three-level scorer, thriving in a larger role with Arizona last season. Beyond the arc, Mathurin can generate favorable opportunities off the dribble. He has an accurate pull-up shot that is good from NBA three-point range. Off the ball, Mathurin moves with purpose around screens. He is a solid catch-and-shoot threat once he generates separation.
Along with his three-point shooting, Mathurin is comfortable in several areas inside the arc. His pull-up game fits perfectly with his lengthy frame to produce midrange opportunities. In the paint, Mathurin has proven he can finish above the rim. Last season, he converted 67.2 percent of his 137 attempts at the rim (per CBB Analytics).
Overall, Mathurin has established himself as an offensive threat in multiple roles. He was efficient as a secondary option as a freshman. As a sophomore, he carried the scoring load. Mathurin is excellent at limiting turnovers and mistakes in both roles.
Athletically, Mathurin has all the tools to guard multiple positions at the next level. His speed allows him to stick backcourt assignments on the perimeter. His size should allow him to switch on to forwards at the next level.
2022 Guard Prospects
Mathurin is an established scorer on offense, but he needs to clean up a few areas. He often settles for contested midrange shots after dribbling himself into pressure. On the perimeter, he dips the ball slightly when he receives it for spot-up three-point attempts. His accuracy is not an issue, so it isn’t worth overhauling his mechanics. That said, Mathurin’s current form could require him to have more space to shoot comfortably in the NBA.
Defensively, Mathurin has a tendency to lose track of his assignment. His off-ball engagement is not consistent. Beyond that, Mathurin gets stuck on screens when tracking players through multiple actions.
Mathurin was the centerpiece on a stellar Arizona squad last season. The Wildcats finished with a 33-4 record and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Just before the NCAA Tournament, Mathurin put on a show in the Pac-12 Tournament. He recorded 27 points in a victory over UCLA in the tournament final. Mathurin followed up that performance with a superb 30-point outing over TCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Individually, Mathurin eared the Pac-12 Player of the Year award. Nationally, he earned a spot on the Consensus All-American Second Team.
Of the shooting guards projected to be selected in the lottery, Mathurin possesses the sturdiest floor. He has shown he is effective as a role player and a featured option. He connected on 41.8 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman. Mathurin could return to that level of efficiency if he receives more catch-and-shoot opportunities at the next level.
Mathurin’s current weaknesses are correctable with coaching. He has all the physical tools and instincts to make the jump to the NBA.
Mathurin operated inside a pro-style perimeter offense last season. His experience in Tucson should accelerate his development in the NBA. He is excellent at generating space off screens and in sets that feature dribble handoffs. If the Blazers are looking for a plug-and-play option for offense, Mathurin fits that mold.
The Blazers currently have depth at the guard spots, so Mathurin’s fit is not entirely seamless. On top of that, his defensive lapses could cost him opportunities to enjoy extended playing time. He could boost his stock in Portland if he shows that he can hold his own against small forwards.