Detroit Pistons: Why Bennedict Mathurin is a perfect fit at fifth overall

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

A year after winning the draft lottery and the number one overall pick, the Detroit Pistons saw their lottery luck turn in 2022. Despite being one of three teams with the best odds to land the top spot in this year’s NBA draft, they slid all the way down to fifth.

This means that the top prospects that many have been speculating about all season will likely be off the board when the Detroit Pistons are on the clock. Namely, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith, who would all be excellent fits with the Pistons, will be out of reach come draft night.

However, not all is doom and gloom in the Motor City. Despite the fall in the draft, there is a realistic chance that the Pistons will come out on top in this situation because there is a player who might be an even better fit.

University of Arizona sophomore Bennedict Mathurin was one of college basketball’s best players last year. He was the PAC-12 player of the year and led the Wildcats to a number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

His 17.7 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game last season only tell a part of who he is as a player. The Pistons should be more than happy if Mathurin is available at five.

Bennedict Mathurin is a perfect fit for the Detroit Pistons.

Shooting Ability

Mathurin has a pure and consistent jump shot. He’s a true sniper in catch-and-shoot situations and accurate when he pulls up off the dribble as well.

He shot 41.8% on threes with 3.5 attempts per game as a freshman. As a sophomore, he followed that up with 36.9% on a much higher 6.1 attempts per game.

Although his three-point percentage went down, his two-point shooting percentage stayed exactly the same at 52.1%, with a similar volume increase. This is largely due to opponents keying in on him as a shooter and Mathurin attacking aggressive closing defenders.

This is a skill that should translate seamlessly to the NBA. Even better, it’s something that will compliment the Pistons’ existing backcourt perfectly.

As a scorer who thrives off-ball, Mathurin would allow Cade Cunningham, or even Killian Hayes, to be the primary ball-handler and creator while still putting up his own points. This makes him the perfect running mate in Detroit.

Functional Athleticism

Mathurin is an excellent athlete by NBA standards. He has great length (6’6 in shoes with a 6’9 wingspan) and is very quick on his feet, particularly for a thickly built 205 lbs. He applies this athletic ability on the floor more than just raw measurables.

The first place this jumps out is on defense. His quick feet and length allow him to be a pesky on-ball defender. This can lead to turnovers and easy buckets on the other end.

In transition, Mathurin can pressure the basket. He runs the floor exceptionally well and can finish with explosive leaping ability for electric drunks.

Mathurin is truly an energizer bunny on the floor. He is constantly in motion, running around on screens and cutting to the basket to present himself for easy dunks. He’s also commonly racing for the loose ball, not afraid to get his hands dirty by diving for the ball and out hustling his opponents.

This athletic ability gives Mathurin a high ceiling with no physical limitations to speak of.


To call Mathurin, a pesky defender is an understatement. In reality, he is a very good on-ball defender and can potentially be a lockdown kind of guy at the NBA level.

This starts with his length. His 6’9 arm length is very good by shooting guard standards. It can alter shots or even prevent them all together on the perimeter.

The next thing that pops out about his defense is his quick feet. The ability to move his feet and stay in front of his man forces his opponent to either try to shoot over him or pass the ball up.

Mathurin is also strong for his position. At 205 lbs, he has the physique to hold his ground against most wings at the NBA level. This means that he can guard at least three positions.

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In short, Mathurin is much more than just a scorer. He is a complete two-way player who can defend the other team’s best player on any given night.