Indiana Pacers forward Bennedict Mathurin has been, without a doubt, one of the most productive rookies in the NBA this season. Mathurin ranks second among all neophytes in points per game (16.6) and ninth in rebounds (4.0). And the rookie put together one of his better performances of the season in Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the 149-136 Pacers loss.
Following Mathurin’s scoring display on Wednesday, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle threw some eye-opening praise the rookie’s way, per a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account:
“[Bennedict] Mathurin is learning a lot about playing as a starter in high-level games and what that’s all about. I like his vibe, I like his approach, and I like that fact that he is a sponge for information right now.”
Mathurin, 20, was selected as the sixth overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s averaging 16.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers per game across 73 appearances this season (12 starts).
The former Arizona star is shooting the ball with great efficiency from the free-throw line in the 2022-23 campaign — Maturin’s current 82.5% free-throw percentage is a sizable improvement from his 76.4% free-throw percentage in his final year at Arizona.
Seeing as the Pacers are 3.5 games back of the 10th-seeded Bulls with only five games remaining on their regular season schedule, it’s unlikely they’ll make the playoffs this season. But with a core of Mathurin, Tyrese Haliburton, and Myles Turner, the Pacers have an extremely bright future. Don’t be surprised if they make the playoffs next year.
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