The Washington Wizards have the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2022 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: Bennedict Mathurin
2021/22 stats: 37 G, 17.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.3 bpg, 45.0 FG% (5.9/13.1), 36.9 3PT% (2.2/6.1), 76.4 FT% (3.7/4.8)
Player comparison: Caris LeVert
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 11th, Sports Illustrated 7th, Ringer 9th, Athletic 8th, ESPN 11th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 8th
5 things to know:
- First off, Mathurin is a bucket-getter, plain and simple. He's a knockdown shooter off the catch whether there's a hand in his face or not, can hit shots off the dribble and attack closeouts effectively with a decent handle and intriguing ability to change speeds with the ball in his hands. He was primarily a spot-up shooter as a freshman at Arizona (shot 41% from three), and as his role expanded this season, Mathurin's efficiency didn't drop off.
- Mathurin is an exciting athlete and plays with infectious energy on the court. He flies up and down the floor in transition, crashes the offensive glass with force and simply doesn't appear to get scared of the moment regardless of circumstance. Couple that with the offensive skill he displays and it's easy to see why he'll become a fan favorite wherever he gets drafted.
- He shows flashes on the defensive end, utilizing his quickness, strength and long frame to his advantage. However, Mathurin doesn't show consistent effort on that end of the floor. Fundamentals, positioning and overall commitment to defense will determine how many minutes Mathurin gets right away as a rookie. All the tools are there, it's just a matter of putting everything together for him to become a two-way wing.
- Don't expect Mathurin to come into the NBA as a dynamic playmaker. Similar to the defensive end, he shows flashes with pocket passes to rolling bigs or leveraging his scoring to open kick-outs to shooters. However, his daring passing style lends way to a few too many unforced errors and turnovers. Mathurin's ideal fit would be playing off of primary playmakers and attacking a scrambling defense. If his defense doesn't come around and he's careless with the ball, coaches won't trust him enough for his scoring to matter.
- Mathurin speaks three languages (English, French and Creole). He's of Haitian descent and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. In 2018, he became the first Canadian-born player to join the NBA Academy Latin America held in Mexico City.
Fit with Wizards:
Mathurin is a very real possibility for the Wizards at No. 10 overall. If he doesn't experience a late rise up draft boards thanks to his shot-making profile as a 6-6 wing, the Wizards will likely be posed with an either-or between him and guards like Dyson Daniels, TyTy Washington and Johnny Davis.
This is where Mathurin's fit on the Wizards' roster becomes interesting, because there's a case to be made that he'd be the best player available compared to the other three guys mentioned above. However, he wouldn't have an easy path to minutes like the guards would considering Washington's massive hole at point guard. The Wizards' last two first-round picks -- Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert -- will likely get the first crack at the backup wing minutes behind Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma.
Considering the questions surrounding Mathurin's defensive consistency and proficiency as a playmaker, adding another off-ball player to this rotation would seem a bit redundant. But if the Wizards identify Mathurin as the best player on the board with the tools to become a dynamic two-way wing it'd be hard to knock that decision.
We also can't assume the Wizards' depth chart will look the same on opening night as it does now. If Tommy Sheppard finds a way to turn some of the young depth Washington has into a veteran floor general, taking Mathurin would end up looking a lot smarter. If one or more of Kispert, Avdija and Pope are moved in a package for a point guard, Mathurin would then have a much better chance at locking down a spot in the rotation. In the draft, it's better to just add talent and figure the rest out later.
2022 NBA Draft profiles: