NBA Awards Race: Pacers’ Mathurin still likely for rookie of the year?

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

Bennedict Mathurin is the best rookie that the Pacers have had in years if not decades. He immediately came out of the gate like a rocket. His offensive game right away was full of confidence and his ability to get to the line was sensational for a rookie.

He was putting up comparable numbers (if not better) than even the best rookie in the NBA early in the season and was a surprise frontrunner for the award at one point. But does Mathurin still have a chance to land the rookie of the year award?

Currently Mathurin has slipped a bit in the standings, which may in part be due to the fact that Mathurin was recently sidelined for a handful of games after sustaining what looked like a terrible ankle injury in a game.

Yet there are currently three different rookie players that are ahead of Mathurin in the standings for ROTY in this order:

  • Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
  • Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
  • Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers

I think most of use would be surprised to see Walker Kessler so high in the ROTY standings, especially given we have been privileged to watch Mathurin’s elite offensive game and it’s hard to imagine an elite defender such as Walker ahead of the offensive prowress of Mathurin.

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Currently, it is looking extremely unlikely that Mathurin is able to walk away with the ROTY hardware…..and that might be a good thing.

Mathurin seems to be the kind of player that is able to take a chip on his shoulder and use it for motivation for years to come. I know one person who without a doubt believes that Bennedict Mathurin is the rookie of the year, and that’s Bennedict Mathurin. He should use this fall as a fire for him to show the world why he absolutely is a better NBA player than Banchero, Williams, and Kessler.