As the NBA offseason slowly moves along, teams are starting to gear up for training camp and the Grizzlies are no different. The Grizzlies added their second Exhibit 10 player in late July. Jacob Gilyard joined Keve Aluma on what are essentially glorified Hustle contracts, with Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype reporting the Grizzlies have also come to terms with Dakota Mathias on an Exhibit 10 deal for next season.
Sources: The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with guard Dakota Mathias, @hoopshype has learned. Mathias had two 10-day contracts with the Grizzlies last season and was previously a two-way player for the Philadelphia 76ers.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) August 10, 2022
Similar to both Aluma and Gilyard, Mathias’ contract will likely not be signed until closer to training camp or as camp processes.
I briefly discussed Aluma & Mathias when the summer league roster was announced, and wrote about Jacob Gilyard earlier this month. Now it’s time to breakdown Dakota Mathias, a “veteran” compared to the other two E10 players.
Dakota Mathias, Guard, Purdue
- 6’4”, 200 pounds, 27 years old from Lima, Ohio
- 2022 NBA Summer League: In 6 games (14.6 minutes per game) — 4.8 points on 40% shooting (25% from beyond the arc, 100% from the free throw line), 3.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1 steal
- Four-year college career (all at Purdue): In 141 games (25.6 minutes per game) — 8.1 points on 43.4% shooting (41.9% from beyond the arc, 80.5% from the free throw line), 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals
- G League career: In 46 games (36.1 minutes per game) — 17.8 points on 42.7% shooting (39.4% from beyond the arc, 81.7% from the free throw line), 4.9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Mathias went undrafted in the 2018 Draft after a 4-year career at Purdue and has spent most of his professional career with the Texas Legends, the G League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. Mathias spent some of the 2020-2021 season on a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, and then spent time with the Grizzlies last season on a hardship contract, before joining their Summer League team this offseason.
Mathias has had just limited opportunity at the NBA level but did show flashes with the Grizzlies in Salt Lake City before his role was diminished in Las Vegas. In SLC, Mathias appeared in 2 games and averaged 10.5 points per game on 46.2% shooting and 42.9% from beyond the arc. In addition, he chipped in 5 rebounds and 2 assists to go with 2.5 stocks (steals + blocks).
Areas of Strength
Mathias is a sniper from beyond the arc, plain and simple. He shot greater than 45% from deep his final two seasons at Purdue when he became a full-time starter for the Boilermakers. At the G League level, Mathias has shot greater than 39% in both seasons on heavy volume. In addition to being an excellent shooter, Mathias doesn’t typically force up terrible shots or many “heat checks.” Instead he can get his points all within the flow of the offense which helps his efficiency.
Mathias is also a solid playmaker despite not having crazy assist numbers. He won’t wow you with many passes, but he’s certainly capable of making reads and keeping the ball moving. He’s solid at moving off the ball on offense to get to his spots and set up catch-and-shoot opportunities, while also being able to score off the dribble if necessary.
Areas of Weakness
While Mathias is a great shooter, he struggles at creating his own shot. He’s not savvy enough of a ball-handler to create for himself in one-on-one situations and does better in quick actions where he’s either shooting or passing shortly after getting the ball. Mathias isn’t a great finisher at the rim, lacking the size and athleticism to get very creative attacking the basket. Mathias does have a solid first step, though, capable of catching his defender off guard and compromising the defense. Mathias has improved as a rebounder at the G League level and during Summer League, but those numbers would likely decline were Mathias to get an NBA opportunity.
Ultimately a lot of Mathias’ downfalls are due to his tweener size. He’s got point guard size but doesn’t have a ton of point guard skills. He’s fairly one dimensional as a shooter but it’s arguably the most attractive skillset to have in today’s NBA. His size hurts him defensively, especially against bigger and more athletic players, but he has shown the ability to poke the ball away and create turnovers.
With both Ahmad Caver and Shaq Buchanan, at the very least, departing from last seasons Hustle roster, the Hustle are in need of offense and shooting which Mathias should be able to provide with ease. Mathias’ skillset allows him to switch between starting and a reserve role depending on the Hustle roster and any potential Grizzlies assignees. Mathias likely won’t be a star or the guy in Southaven next season, but he projects to be a really solid role player who can knock down shots and help space the floor for the Hustle.
Mathias also has an outside chance at landing an end of season deal with the Grizzlies depending on their roster construction after the trade deadline. More of a two-guard, the Grizzlies just have Desmond Bane and John Konchar as healthy bodies at that position. If Danny Green sticks around and gets healthy, the Grizzlies will be set at the position. Hell, the Grizzlies may already feel content with Bane and Konchar as the more “pure” two-guards and instead fill in spot minutes with more Ja Morant/Tyus Jones backcourt minutes or playing bigger with Dillon Brooks or Ziaire Williams at the two. Mathias, however, would be a solid sniper to have as a 15th guy if Danny Green is ultimately moved and an additional roster spot is opened up.
I am not expecting Mathias to wind up on the Grizzlies roster by season’s end, but I do think his play will warrant some NBA interest, potentially even from the Grizzlies, the following offseason — depending on how rosters shake up. Any team could benefit from having a great shooter on the end of their bench.