Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin has emerged as one of the top rookies this season, but the fast start hasn’t come without some adjustments along the way.
The transition to the NBA can often be tricky with a faster pace of play against bigger competition. It typically takes first-year players quite a few games until they can get completely acclimated to things, and Mathurin is no different.
He entered the NBA touted as a physical player at the collegiate level. Given his size at 6 feet, 5 inches, and 210 pounds, Mathurin has the frame to withstand contact, but navigating around some of the bigger players in the NBA has even been a surprise to him.
Mathurin, speaking on the “Old Man & the Three” podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, explained what the biggest adjustment has been in the NBA.
In college, I was one of the strongest guys, and coming into the league I have to guard some bigger guys and some taller guys. I gotta get through Steven Adams’ screens so it is different. Knowing who you’re guarding is one of the biggest things I had to adjust (to).
Mathurin is averaging 17.2 points, four rebounds and 1.4 assists on 33.2% shooting from 3-point range in 47 games. He leads the rookie class in total scoring (807 points) and free throws (233), and is one of two first-year players with multiple 30-point games (Paolo Banchero).
While Mathurin himself has been impressive thus far, the sixth pick has marveled at how well some of his peers have played this season. There are seemingly plenty of players that perform at a high level each night, but there are two that stand out to Mathurin the most.
Donovan Mitchell, I remember I was guarding him a couple of times. I think one time we were playing at home and I was on him and wasn’t moving. He just pump-faked, I bit a little bit and he threw it off the backboard and it came right to his hands. I was like, ‘This man is really Spida!’ Jayson Tatum, as well. His footwork is incredible. His jab-step, as well, is incredible. His pump fake, he is going to make you bite all the time. When he is in the paint, too, his fadeaway and stuff.
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Author : Rookie Wire
Publish date : 2023-01-21 17:31:41
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