The NBA Draft Combine is currently underway at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. And while the event presents the perfect opportunity for scouts to watch the 2022 draft class in action on the court, the interviews conducted behind the scenes can be just as important.
Executives were given the green light to start player interviews on Wednesday afternoon. And, to no surprise, we have yet to hear much about whom this tight-lipped Bulls’ front office has spoken with. In fact, the only name we’ve gotten thus far is Bennedict Mathurin, who told reporters on Thursday that Chicago was one of six teams he met with.
Benedict Mathurin, Arizona guard, said he's interviewed with the Knicks, Raptors, Bulls, Pelicans, Pacers and Blazers.
"It's about going to the right spot," he said "It's not going high or low."
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) May 19, 2022
Benedict Mathurin of @ArizonaMBB said he met with the Knicks and ‘playing in the Garden would be crazy’. Also met with the Blazers, Pacers, Bulls and Raptors.
‘I’m open to any team’ pic.twitter.com/GubIPHCNHP
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 19, 2022
To be honest, I’m a bit surprised Mathurin is the first name we are hearing about. Not only is he an offensive-minded backcourt player, but he is also projected to go well before the Bulls are on the clock. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor lists the Arizona standout at No. 9 in his latest mock draft, while ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has him going to the New York Knicks at No. 11. An athletic wing who averaged 17.3 points per game and led his Arizona Wildcats squad to the Sweet Sixteen last season, he certainly feels like a lottery-level talent.
With that said, you never know what can happen on draft night. The Bulls interviewed Ayo Dosunmu last season, who the front office never expected to be on the board in the second round. So meeting with players who may be well outside your current range is simply doing your due diligence. You just never know when a player can fall, and you also never know what opportunities could present themselves via trade.
While Mathurin may not fill the greatest need on this Bulls roster, he would surely be an intriguing addition. The 19-year-old shot nearly 37.0 percent from long range last season on 6.1 attempts per game. He carries great size at the wing with a six-foot-six frame and an explosive burst. Envisioning him running alongside the Bulls in transition isn’t hard to do, and he would certainly provide a level of catch-and-shoot potential that we know this team desperately needs.
He moves well off the ball to set himself up for solid looks, and he displays good lift in his jump shot that comes with a high release point that makes it that much harder to contest. Mathurin plays with a level of energy that’s hard not to like, but I feel as if that can also be his downfall. He doesn’t come off as the most polished player, and there could certainly be a steep ball-handling and defensive playmaking learning curve that comes with transitioning to the next level.
I’m not sure I see Chicago as the ideal fit for Mathurin right off the bat, but his catch-and-shoot potential mixed with the highlight-reel-worthy athleticism is impossible to ignore. And that’s why I can’t even imagine the Bulls have an option to grab him at No. 18. We’ll see!