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Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin named to first team All-Rookie

Mathurin averaged 16.7 points per game in his first season

On Monday, the NBA announced that Indiana Pacers rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin was named to the All-Rookie First Team.

Mathurin, who the Pacers selected sixth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, averaged 16.7 points per game this season and was a tough cover for opponents every night. He scored 20+ points 27 times this season and finished 13th in the NBA in free throw rate. The rookie was a tough cover.

He finished second among his draft class in points per game, 11th in rebounds, and 11th in assists. For a while, he looked like the star of the 2022 draftees. He was the leader for Rookie of the Year after a month or so and won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month to open the season. Ultimately, Mathurin finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.

"The season is so much ups and downs. I feel like the biggest thing for me to learn was just to be able to play through ups and downs and challenges and stuff like that," Maturin said of his first season.

The 20-year old wanted to be coached hard. He asked Rick Carlisle to do so, and he noted often that he wants to be the best two-way player in the league. Sometimes, he had down moments. But he showed growth and promise throughout the campaign and is headed down a path with a high ceiling.

The Pacers rookie finished with 71 votes for the All-Rookie first team and 28 votes for the second team. One voter left him off of either team. Mathurin finished fifth in total points, earning him the last spot on the first team. He was just behind Kings forward Keegan Murray and ahead of Pistons guard Jaden Ivey.

This is the second straight season that Indiana has had a player make an All-Rookie team. Chris Duarte made the second team last year after being drafted 13th overall, though he didn't have the second year that he wanted.

Mathurin's next steps will be about consistency, team defense, and passing. He can already score at a high level and has shown that he knows how to get open. His jumper will improve. But adding skills elsewhere will make him a tough cover.

The Canadian guard is the first Pacers player to make first team All-Rookie since Rik Smits in 1989. Many players, including Duarte, Paul George, Myles Turner, and Danny Granger, have made an All-Rookie team in the interim.

Joining Mathurin on the first team are Paolo Banchero, Jalen Williams, Walker Kessler, and Murray.

Pacers rookie guard Andrew Nembhard just missed making the second team. Mathurin, though, was a lock to make one of the rosters, it just wasn't clear which one. In the end, it was a well-deserved placement on the first team.

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