Wesley Matthews – Wing, Marquette University
33 years old (turns 34 on Wednesday), 6’4” 220 pounds, 6’9” wingspan
DRAFT: Undrafted, signed with Utah as an undrafted rookie in 2009.
NBA Experience: 11 years with 6 teams (1 season with Utah Jazz; 5 seasons with Portland Trailblazers; 3.5 seasons with Dallas Mavericks; 2 games with New York Knicks; .5 seasons with Indiana Pacers; 1 season with Milwaukee Bucks)
CAREER STATS: 791 games (31.9 minutes per game average), 13.1 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 43.3% field goal percentage, 38.1% three point percentage, 82% free throw shooting, 52.2% effective field goal percentage, 13.0 PER, .097 win shares per 48 minutes.
Wesley Matthews was a key piece to the Milwaukee Bucks team that finished the regular season with the best record in the league. Matthews started in all 67 games he played in for the Bucks and averaged 7.4 points and 1.6 threes per game.
Matthews is a ‘3 and D’ player that many teams covet. He finished with the second best defensive rating (98.3) for the league’s best defense this past season.
For his career, Matthews, who was undrafted, has always played like he has something to prove, and he did that once again this past season. Since his rookie year, he has averaged *at least* 24 minutes a game and played at least 60 games every year.
Numbers That May Make Matthews
92 – That’s the percentage of games Matthews started in his career. I’m not saying the Grizzlies are looking for a starter, but it would be nice to have a guy like Matthews putting some pressure on Dillon Brooks.
98.3 – As mentioned earlier, that’s Matthews’ defensive rating last year, the best of his career. Matthews’ offense has taken a dip recently because of his advanced age and his Achilles heel injury a few years back. When he is on the court he is still one of the better defenders in the league.
36.4 – Matthews’ 3-point percentage last season. Only 3 Grizzlies finished with a higher percentage. His shooting has declined recently, but defenses still should respect him on the perimeter.
Numbers that may make the Grizzlies pass on Matthews
34 – Matthews will turn 34 this week, and just like I said last week with E’Twaun Moore, age could be a factor against bringing a player into the Grizzlies. Matthews is a savvy veteran, but the Grizzlies seem to be more interested in adding younger pieces to an already young core.
24.4 – Average minutes per game for Matthews this past season. That is the lowest number of minutes per game in Matthews’ career. Does this point to Matthews’ career winding down, or he was just a victim of circumstances in Milwaukee? He could run into a similar problem in Memphis.
Pulse of Grizz Nation
At print time, it appears that Grizz Nation is split on if the Grizzlies should bring in Wesley Matthews in the offseason, leaning more to not bringing him in.
Most of the comments against bringing in Matthews deal with his age, which is of course understandable. Honestly, when you hear his name, it just feels like he has been in the league forever. One comment I got did say many people are sleeping on just how good Matthews was this past season, and I tend to agree. Some of his numbers were down, but his defense, as well as still being a threat from deep, prevented him from being a liability on either end of the floor.
Matthews does have a player option to return to the Bucks at about $2.7 million. Something tells me that Matthews may think he has some unfinished business in Milwaukee after they got bounced in the playoffs. But, if he does hit the free agency market, there will be plenty of suitors interested in adding Matthews.
I like Matthews as a player, but feel like he may not be suited for the Grizzlies up-tempo offense. Also, I think that bringing in Matthews could stunt the growth of some of the younger players and prevent them from growing together for the future.
Final Offer: 2 years/$8 million. There are going to be a decent number of teams going after Matthews’ services if he does not re-sign with Milwaukee; it’s in the Grizzlies best interest to not get in a bidding war for him.