Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin is named Rookie of the Month
Bennedict Mathurin has exceeded expectations as the start of the 2022-23 NBA season is underway. What is making him, Haliburton and Turner so good?
The sixth overall pick has exceeded expectations as the start of the 2022-23 NBA season is underway. Bennedict Mathurin is named the Rookie of the Month for November. He averaged 18.5 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 42% from the field and 38% from deep. Oh, and he has yet to start an NBA game.
He has been far and away the best rookie this season and has taken advantage of Paolo Banchero missing time. Mathurin is now ranked No. 1 on nba.com’s rookie rankings, which they update each week, and has been at the top for two consecutive weeks. Also, Andrew Nembhard is in the top ten of that list which is well deserved.
Mathurin was previously in the 2nd spot behind Paolo Banchero but has now surpassed him after Paolo’s ankle injury. To Mathurin’s credit, the race was close even when Banchero was healthy. Mathurin ranks fourth in minutes per game for the Pacers, at 28. Haliburton leads the team with 33.
A cool moment at the Pacers practice on Thursday was Rick Carlisle announcing Mathurin had won that honor. Here is his reaction:
What makes Mathurin so good? Well, his ability to get to the rim and draw fouls has been unmatched by any rookie I have seen come through Indiana. However, that is just one branch of his skill tree that makes him such an intriguing rookie. Mathurin is a playmaker with a fearless mindset when the going gets tough and has been able to be a source of offense for this team.
Rick Carlisle can keep him on the bench because it allows him to thrive in being a score-first wing when guys like Hield and Haliburton arent there to stimulate the offensive flow. Mathurin leads all rookies in total points, threes made, and three-point percentage (40.3%) and has made the most free throws on the most attempts at 129.
Mathurin is downhill, strong, and can finish at a high frequency which has sprung him into one of the best scoring options on this roster. Without Mathurin, I think the Pacers’ record is much worse, as he has sparked comebacks and been consistently reliable. That is why, to me, his rookie of the year case is so strong — the Pacers would not be where they are (4th place) without his contributions.
Out of 21 games played this season, Mathurin has only scored in single figures twice, where he had a nine and eight-point outing.
In minutes per game thus far, he ranks fifth behind Keegan Murray, Jabari Smith, Jaden Ivey, and Paolo Banchero.
Mathurin continues to impress and in the process, this Pacers team keeps winning games. Barring any trades this season, I believe this group can be a playoff/in contender. That is only if production remains throughout the entirety of the season and if Chris Duarte can be another offensive weapon for this roster. Or, Indiana could find a rut and fall into the standing, but you don’t sense that is going to be the case after over twenty games of film.
The Stats Behind Turner and Haliburton’s Player of the Month Nominations
Rick Carlisle was nominated for Coach of the Month for helping lead the Pacers to a 9-4 month in November. He has been the brain behind this exceptional start to the season that has the Pacers at 4th in the eastern conference. Who saw that one coming?