One stat proves why Bennedict Mathurin’s historic start is sustainable

Bennedict Mathurin (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Bennedict Mathurin (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

While the current Indiana Pacers roster isn’t going to be achieving historic results this season, their new first-round pick seems to be doing just that. Bennedict Mathurin has been on a tear in his first three weeks, averaging over 20 points a game. What’s even more impressive is that he is doing it in only 28 minutes per game while coming off of the bench.

Pacers fans have some justifications to be hesitant. In recent years, many of their first-round picks were ultimately traded or remained out of the league entirely. Out of the five drafts preceding 2022, only two of their first-round picks are still with them. And one of those picks, TJ Leaf, is out of the NBA entirely.

Even when their rookies have started hot, such as Chris Duarte last season averaging nearly 18 points through the first seven games, they seem to come back to earth quickly (finished the season averaging 13 points per game for the season).

Here’s why Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin’s sizzling start is sustainable

So what should give Pacers fans hope that Mathurin’s blazing hot start will be any different? It is precisely how he is scoring those points. Rather than relying entirely on a hot shooting streak (which he certainly has had at nearly 42.9% from three), Mathurin seems to be attacking the rim at a historic pace for a rookie.

Mathurin is currently shooting 6.2 free throws per game played which, according to Basketball Reference, would have been good enough for 15th in the league a year ago and seventh among guards, ahead of All-Stars such as Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Donovan Mitchell.

Is it a small sample size? Of course. Will Mathurin be a future all-star and the answer to a small-market team’s hope of finding a superstar? Only time will tell. But if you ask Mathurin? As he famously said about Lebron this past summer, he doesn’t think anybody is better than him and he’s bound and certainly determined to show you.

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