The Sacramento Kings will pick fourth overall in the NBA Draft next week, likely missing out on prospective top three players Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero. expected go #1-3 in any order.
As such, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey remains an obvious choice for the Kings. Ivey is the 6’4 combo guard Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. compared to Victor Oladipo when he recently visited the NBA podcastsignaling high potential for the Kings should they pick him.
(For complete transparency, this author is the co-host of the above podcast.)
While Ivey would indeed make a great choice, should the Kings be open to thinking outside the box? According to Wasserman, Benedict Mathurin is raising draft boards, and it’s easy to see why.
Size and touch
Maturin from Arizona 6’6 with a wingspan of 6’9. He has athletic ability that allows him to play even more, and the combination of all of this makes him a player who can play both sides in the NBA. While the Kings don’t necessarily have to consider necessity, they lack a suitable flank as they have spent years recruiting point guards. Maturin is not like that at all, and someone from the Kings could start with two or three, in anticipation of matches.
His 36.9% shooting percentage from behind the three-point line this season has been solid, as have his 17.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, but Mathurin’s shooting percentage doesn’t seem to match his future shots. His throw is very clean and he can shoot at close range and immediately without a catch. He can climb over defensemen with little effort and his range truly exceeds that of the NBA. With more extra spacing in the next level, it’s no surprise that Maturin has grown into a reliable marksman with a range of almost 40% in a short amount of time.
This does not mean that he is exclusively a player without the ball. In fact, far from it. Maturin often creates offside and even has the ability to get to the free throw line at a decent pace (4.8 attempts per game). His height, shooting ability and fluid dribbling allow him to stop and jump at mid range, making him a Swiss Army Knife scorer that can be used in a variety of ways.
Maturin also defends the ball well, posting a modest TOV% of 10.8, further highlighting his NBA readiness. From time to time he will lose his head and make moves that are not fully thought out, but given that he will be only 20 years old on June 19, this is hardly a matter of the long term. Not only are his mistakes rare, they seem to be easy to iron out. Maturin is not a purely instinctive player, as he displays a high level of basketball maturity and intelligence in his shot pattern and overall decision making.
Maturin should enter the league as a player who immediately contributes, even at both ends of the floor, while waiting for the final destination in the draft. For the Kings in particular, the flawless Canadian must be able to make a living from the attention given to both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, allowing him to fly stealthily and get a quality appearance. Both Fox and Sabonis are amazing playmakers who can see him move away from the ball or into the basket.
Pending the return of Harrison Barnes (who has been the subject of trade rumors since December 2021), the Kings could have a very competent offensive four of Fox, Maturin, Barnes and Sabonis that should offer a lot of advantages. Throw in Davion Mitchell off the bench, and the Kings are essentially just one two-way wing short of a team that could make waves in the Western Conference next season.
It is possible that Maturin could be among the best rookies of the year next season, given the maturity of his game and the fluidity of his goalscoring. The Kings have had the 6th-best offense in the league this season, and while Fox is a full scorer with 20 points, the players around him are reacting to the game more than insisting on high scoring numbers. Maturin could easily step in and take on a significant offensive load, eventually becoming Sacramento’s second choice behind Fox, if not overtaking him as the top scorer a few years later.
That doesn’t mean Ivy couldn’t do something similar. He could very well be an obvious candidate for fourth place, if the organization deems him suitable. However, Maturin offers an option that cannot be ignored. His game has significant growth potential, and he offers some positional flexibility, which in today’s NBA is of no small importance in terms of team building.
Overall, the Kings are in a good position to have plenty of options, including Iowa forward Keegan Murray, arguably the most polished offensive forward in the draft.
Of course, the Kings may decide to forego the selection in order to acquire an unbeaten player. It would make some sense taking into account the acquisition of Sabonis at the time of the transaction. However, if the Kings do go down this path, they need to make the most of it, as they will miss out on the chance to pick from a group of players with significant long-term upside potential. Simply put, they need to ask and receive a lot.