NBA Draft betting: Mathurin stock on the rise
Chris Sheridan assesses the betting ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft, picking a +1500 shot to go at No. 4.
The first three picks of the NBA draft are pretty much determined: Orlando will take Jabari Smith, Oklahoma City will take Chet Holmgren and Houston will take Paolo Banchero.
So the intrigue begins with the Sacramento Kings at No. 4 and to a lesser degree with the Detroit Pistons at No. 5, and that is where the wagering opportunities arise tonight.
Overnight, the Pistons agreed to trade their best veteran player, Jerami Grant, to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for a bunch of draft picks, giving the Pistons $43m in salary cap space to make themselves capable of signing anybody they want who is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
So who do they add with the No. 5 pick? Back to that in a moment.
The Kings are the team that will be the most interesting to watch tonight because they hold a pick that about 15 NBA teams want to get their hands on, which means Kings general manager Monte McNair is keeping an extra cell phone battery charger with him at all times today.
Most Mock Drafts have Purdue combo guard Jaden Ivey going in this spot, but Keegan Murray of Iowa and Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona have had some exceptionally strong workouts around the NBA, and there are some league executives who believe the Pistons have zeroed in on Mathurin with the No. 5 pick.
Mathurin was +8000 to go No. 4 on Tuesday, and 48 hours later he is down to +1500, with Ivey the favorite at -200 and Murray right behind him at +150.
Teams are especially locked in on trying to pry that No. 4 pick away from Sacramento because the Toronto Raptors took Scottie Barnes at No. 4 a year ago, and he ended up being Rookie of the Year. So with a dozen or more teams trying to move into that spot, it becomes a question of whether they are trying to trade up to get Ivey, Murray or Mathurin.
So let’s look at their credentials:
Ivey: He averaged 17.3 points on 46 per cent shooting overall and 35.8 per cent from 3-point range for Purdue University. Was he the Big Ten Player of the Year? No, that went to Johnny Davis of Wisconsin. Ivey’s dad played in the NFL and his mom in the WNBA, so the genetics are there. But is he a sure-fire No. 4 pick, a.k.a The Best of the Rest?
Murray: He averaged 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds at Iowa, has a reputation as a very good defender and made nearly 40 per cent of his 3-pointers while also shooting 55.4 per cent overall. He made a monster leap production wise from what he did for the Hawkeyes as a freshman, and he is a high IQ player. He won the Karl Malone award as the nation’s best power forward and was first-team All-American. So he has accomplished a lot more than Ivey, and would be a good fit for Detroit now that Grant is gone.
Mathurin: The Pac-10 Player of the Year at Arizona, he plays shooting guard and small forward and has had a number of stellar individual workouts, making him the one guy (there is one every year) whose stock has been rising in a major way in the week prior to the draft. He shot better from 3-point range as a freshman than he did as a sophomore, and he had a number of stellar performances for Team Canada at the Under-19 World Championships, where Canada stunned Serbia for the bronze medal. He came out of the NBA’s Latin American Academy in Mexico City in 2018, and scouts have known about him for awhile. He is of Haitian descent and grew up in Montreal.
Now, back to the Sacramento Kings.
They are now being coached by Mike Brown, who was an assistant under Steve Kerr with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Kerr is an Arizona graduate and is well-versed in both international basketball and all things related to the Arizona Wildcats, so you can bet your bottom dollar that Kerr and Brown have discussed Mathurin.
The thinking here is that if the Kings keep the pick, Mathurin or Murray is their guy. But Sacramento also has been busy on the phones trying to flip the No. 4 pick for an assortment of riches, and this is where some guesswork comes into play.
Is there some team out there that wants to prevent the Pistons from getting whoever they are locked in on, whether it is Ivey, Murray or Mathurin?
If that is the case, they will overpay to get the No. 4 pick from the Kings, leaving the Pistons to take the best leftover at No. 5. And Murray would not be a bad leftover for them.
Betway has Murray at +130, Mathurin at +200 and Ivey at +225 to go fifth overall.
And since we like to look for value and look at odds movement, the fact that Mathurin dropped from +8000 to +1500 to be the No. 4 pick is a dead giveaway that he is the rising star here. So we are counseling you to take Mathurin as the No. 4 pick (+1500) and hedge that wager with Murray at +150.