Two years ago, the Indiana Pacers were led by Domantas Sabonis. He’s an All-Star-caliber big man, but the team couldn’t find its way out of the first round of the playoffs. Now, they have Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, and a bright future.
The Sabonis-led Pacers left the organization in a tough spot – they weren’t good enough to compete for a playoff run, but they weren’t bad enough to land a top pick in the NBA Draft. They were stuck in the middle.
Then, at the 2022 NBA trade deadline, the Pacers traded Sabonis for Haliburton, changing the course of their franchise. And the following summer, they drafted Mathurin with the sixth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
And this offseason, he’s looking to learn.
Indiana Pacers wing Bennedict Mathurin working out with Klay Thompson
The pair were trading buckets, going back and forth, defending one another. Thompson made sure to give it to the young Pacer, but Mathurin dished it right back to him.
Thompson has had an incredible NBA career, spending all of it with the Warriors. As noted, he’s won four titles, but perhaps more impressively, he battled his way back onto the court after back-to-back season-ending injuries.
The Warriors veteran missed two full seasons, made his return to the court, and won a championship the very season he came back. It was truly remarkable.
Of all the players Mathurin could be training with and learning from, Thompson has to be toward the top of the list when it comes to teaching him the best skillset.
At his best, Thompson was the best 3-and-D player in the league, playing the role at an All-Star level. If he can pass some of that talent and knowledge down to Mathurin, the Pacers will be in phenomenal shape.
Mathurin entered the Pacers’ starting lineup toward the end of last year. While he might transition back into a bench role next season, training with Thompson could help him keep his starting job.
If he can become an above-average defender and continue to work on his catch-and-shoot game behind the arc, he’ll be the perfect complement to Haliburton and the rest of Indiana’s current core.