Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin already eyeing LeBron James’ crown

Bennedict Mathurin was a Top 6 pick by the Indiana Pacers but the rookie is already taking some shots at LeBron James, which might not be the smartest move.

Prior to the full evaluation process in the 2022 NBA Draft, there were some wondering just how high Arizona Wildcats product Bennedict Mathurin would be drafted. Eventually, it was clear that he wasn’t a Top 3 pick but still seemed like a lock as a Top 10 selection.

That turned out to be the case thanks to the Indiana Pacers after the franchise selected him with the sixth overall pick in the draft. Mathurin will pair with a strong, younger core on the Pacers roster that could provide some dangerous combinations moving forward.

However, the former Arizona star is looking more forward to challenging himself individually, it seems. Namely, he wants to go after the best in the game (or at least one of them): LeBron James.

Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin needs LeBron James to prove his greatness to him

In an interview with The Washington Post, Mathurin sounded off on LeBron James, saying that he’s heard how great the “King” is and, more importantly, that James is going to have to prove to the incoming rookie that he’s the better player.

There are several ways to take a statement like that, all of them varying in what they could mean.

One reading of that would be that the Pacers have to love the supreme confidence of Mathurin. He’s coming into the league having never played in the NBA thinking that arguably one of the three best players ever has to show him that he’s not a step down from the rookie.

Another way to look at the comments, however, is a young player who needs to be taken down a peg by one of the modern and still-playing legends of the league. Then, somewhere in-between those two outlooks, we have a player who has the right amount of arrogance you need to be great but who might also be poking the bear just a bit too much for someone who hasn’t played a game yet.

Regardless, Mathurin is lighting a fire right out of the gate. We’ll have to see if that’s good or bad for him and the Pacers, but it’s certainly entertaining in the offseason for fans.

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