The Detroit Pistons have the fifth overall selection in the upcoming NBA draft. Picking at five, the Pistons will have plenty of directions they can go with the pick. If they are looking for a backcourt mate for Cade Cunningham, they could look to select guard Ben Mathurin out of Arizona.
Ben Mathurin is a 6’7 shooting guard prospect who entered the draft after his sophomore year at Arizona. In the past season, he was the Pac-12 player of the year, averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Mathurin’s offensive output was fueled by his outside shot getting open shots on the move, off the dribble, and in the catch and shoot.
If the defense runs him off the line, Mathurin can attack and take advantage. When he gets to the rim, Mathurin elevates with ease and consistently finishes through contact. Mathurin is also a solid passer who can make the proper read.
Defensively, Mathurin could be really good in the NBA. At 6’7 with a 6’9 wingspan, he has excellent size for an off guard. On top of that, Mathurin is solid as a rock and plays with great physicality on defense. When Mathurin puts those together, he can shut down an entire possession himself.
However, Mathurin was not always locked in and can get caught ball-watching. Luckily, that can be corrected easily, and if Mathurin locks in consistently, he’ll be a good or even great defender in the NBA.
How Ben Mathurin fits the Detroit Pistons
Ben Mathurin fits naturally next to Cade Cunningham as an off guard. With the ball in his hands, Cade would run the offense, allowing Mathurin to work off-ball. While off-ball, Mathurin would be a better version of Wayne Ellington. He can fly off screens in search of open three points shots. If Cade is being defended well, Mathurin can attack the rim or create a shot off the dribble.
To truly unlock the duo’s potential, Mathurin needs to improve his off-the-bounce game. Cade can’t be the only shot creator on a good team, so Mathurin will need to support him. To do this, Mathurin needs to tighten his handle and improve his passing ability beyond simple reads. If he can do this, Mathurin would be an ideal secondary playmaker next to Cade.
On defense, Mathurin should be a great asset. On a nightly basis, Mathurin would defend the team’s best perimeter scorer. Mathurin’s length, physicality, and athleticism will create problems for most players. This would take pressure off Cade and Saddiq Bey, allowing them to focus on the offensive end of the floor. Plus, a lineup of Cade, Mathurin, Bey, and Isaiah Stewart would be a tough lineup to score on with their combination of size and switch-ability.
Ben Mathurin will enter the league as a solid shooting guard, perfectly suited to pair with Cade Cunningham. Mathurin provides great shooting, off-ball movement, and defense which should make him an asset from Day 1. However, at five, the Detroit Pistons need to also look at long-term fit as they attempt to build a championship roster.
Championship teams need multiple players capable of creating efficient offense for themselves or for others.
Mathurin can potentially be a secondary ball-handler on a good team, but it does take some projection. If the Detroit Pistons believe he can develop his handle, Mathurin makes a ton of sense at five. At his floor, Mathurin can be a good three and D wing with some creation, or at his best, Mathurin can be a two-way scorer capable of being the 2nd best player on a championship team.