Wesley Matthews Signs Pacers Contract, Hailed as ‘Solid Professional’ by Team
David Zalubowski/Associated Press
“We’re excited to welcome Wesley to the Pacers,” Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard said. “He’s a solid professional who we feel strongly will help us the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. When we looked at possible players to bring in, he fit in well with what we are trying to accomplish here on the court, in the locker room and off the court.”
The Knicks originally traded for Matthews Jan. 31 in a deal that sent Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and a draft pick to the Knicks, with Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. going to Dallas.
Since going undrafted out of Marquette in 2009, Matthews has carved out a strong niche in the NBA. The 32-year-old has played for the Mavericks, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers prior to being traded to the Knicks.
Matthews is best used as a catch-and-shoot player because of his ability from three-point range. He has connected on 38.3 percent of his attempts from behind the arc in his career, and he has been a steady offensive presence averaging between 12.5 and 16.4 points per game each season since 2010-11.
Through 46 games this season, Matthews has been solid with 12.8 points per game and a 37.4 three-point percentage.
Despite his success on the court, Matthews has made just one playoff appearance in three seasons with the Mavs. Not being able to compete for a championship is something that has nagged at him.
“I don’t want another long offseason,” Matthews told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News last June. “I don’t. I want a postseason (after the 2018-19 season). We deserve it—this organization, these fans, us players—we deserve to be in the postseason competing.”
Now that Matthews is hitting free agency at a crucial point for teams in search of roster depth, he can pick a spot that allows him to fulfill his playoff goal.
Needing help in the backcourt following the season-ending injury to Victor Oladipo, the Pacers were able to add Matthews without having to give up anything other than money.
Oladipo was a critical piece of Indiana’s roster. He led the team in scoring (18.8) and ranked second in assists (5.2) per game before rupturing his right quadriceps tendon Jan. 23 against the Toronto Raptors.
Even though the Pacers likely could have made the playoffs without adding help to their roster—they are currently No. 3 in the Eastern Conference with a 37-19 record—Matthews gives head coach Nate McMillan another scorer.
Indiana’s strength is primarily on the defensive end. The team ranks first in points allowed per game and second in defensive efficiency.
Scoring can be hit-or-miss with an offense that ranks 16th in efficiency (109.4 per 100 possessions). Even though Matthews isn’t a typical go-to guy with the ball in his hands, he’s proven himself to be a capable shooter who will fit exactly what this Pacers team needs down the stretch.
via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF
February 10, 2019 at 11:46AM