2. Bennedict Mathurin
Mathurin was the sixth overall pick in the 2022 draft and immediately proved to be a force. The 20-year-old averaged 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. He played mostly as the Pacers’ sixth man but did see his scoring and efficiency improve significantly over the final 11 games when he moved into the starting lineup.
Indiana fans are excited about Mathurin, but can he make a gigantic leap in year two? His efficiency and playmaking are instant areas where the 6’6 wing can improve. He shot just 43.4 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from 3-point range as a rookie. Getting closer to the league averages of 47.5 percent and 36.1 percent would be massive boosts that could push Mathurin near 20 points per game.
The 6’6 wing must improve on the defensive end of the floor. He rated 210th of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR and had a negative defensive box score plus-minus. Mathurin has the size and athletic ability to be a plus defender, but he must lock in and hold his own to shock the world.
Can Bennedict Mathurin average 22 points per game on efficient shooting and take over as the Indiana Pacers starting shooting guard? A second year improvement won’t be surprising, but a massive leap would certainly turn heads.