Bucks Lead

Matthews’ Wisconsin Reunion Arrives at Perfect Time

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Wesley Matthews is no stranger to Wisconsin and its sports culture. After being born in San Antonio, Texas, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin and played basketball for James Madison Memorial High School. After high school, he chose to attend Marquette University over UW-Madison – where his father played college ball. Matthews became a well-known underdog player at Marquette and also earned Second Team All-Big East honors in 2009. In that 2009 season, Matthews scored 18.3 points per game, grabbed 5.7 boards per game, while shooting 47.5% from the field.

Wesley Matthews Photos - 412 of 444

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

NBA Career

Wesley Matthews went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft after four successful years with Marquette. He was quickly signed by the Utah Jazz and played there for one season. Throughout his career, Matthews has played for the Jazz, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Knicks and Pacers, in that order. He has made an impact everywhere he has gone, but he made a name for himself with Portland.

Photo: Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Matthews played five seasons with Portland from 2010-15, averaging 15.4 PPG/3.3 RPG/2.2 APG/43.8% FG/39.4% 3PT.

He played with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, and Damian Lillard for one season, so he was never asked to be the top guy on the team. Despite that, Matthews proved himself as a dependable scorer, more than capable defender and reliable shooter from deep as a great compliment to the team’s star players, which is exactly what the Bucks need from him.

Everywhere Wesley Matthews has gone, he has been a key role player on a talented roster (other than his two game stint with the lowly New York Knicks in 2019). He played with Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, and Harrison Barnes in Dallas. Despite that team never finding success while he was on the roster, he was still a serviceable role player and 3&D starter. He also played a key role in the Indiana Pacers’ playoff run of 2019. After Victor Oladipo went down with a season ending injury, Indiana traded for Matthews and made him their starting shooting guard. While Matthews obviously wasn’t playing as well as Oladipo had been, he still provided a much-needed scoring option and spark for the team.

Praise For Effort

Especially before his torn achilles in 2015, Matthews was praised as a high-energy, hard-working defender. He has active hands, quick lateral movement, and a high IQ and ability to read a play before it happens. Matthews has never earned all-defensive honors, but defensive metrics work in his favor.

Over his 13-year career, he holds a Defensive Efficiency Rating of 106.2, which is actually only 0.7 worse than Bucks MVP and defensive monster Giannis Antetokounmpo. Also, team defensive rating factors into that stat, and his time with Dallas was his worst defensive rating stretch, but Dallas’ defense left much to be desired. Milwaukee proved themselves as an elite defensive team, with Eric Bledsoe and Giannis earning All-Defensive First Team Honors last season. For Matthews to be surrounded by several good and smart defenders, that will be mutually beneficial to the team and Matthews himself.

Wesley Matthews Fits Like a Glove

Wesley Matthews of the Indiana Pacers

Photo: Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Wesley Matthews is not as deadly from deep as other recent Bucks signee Kyle Korver, but he can certainly still stroke it. Matthews finds himself 27th all time in NBA history in three pointers made. He is ahead of names like Tim Hardaway, Manu Ginobili and Carmelo Anthony, just to name a few. While Matthews is another guy who is good for the spacing around Giannis, he is also a way more versatile scorer than Kyle Korver. Matthews can put the ball on the floor and score inside just as well as he can hit it from downtown.

Matthews is also a very good defender. It is worth noting that he has lost some his his step since tearing his achilles a couple years ago, but he is active, has quick hands, and is good at staying in front of his man. Because Matthews is more versatile on both ends of the floor, Matthews is more starting material, and Kyle Korver will be a sniper off the bench.

Looking at the Numbers

The duo of Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver will be making a total of $5,129,506 during the 2019-20 NBA season. Malcolm Brogdon will be making $20,000,000. The Bucks choosing to go the cheaper route for two very impactful players, which also allowed them to more easily re-sign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, George Hill, and to sign a true bench center in Robin Lopez, seems like a no brainer.

I won’t pretend that losing Malcolm Brogdon isn’t a negative, because he is a very good player on both ends of the floor. However, the Bucks have had an amazing offseason despite Brogdon’s departure. Matthews as a fifth option in a deadly starting lineup is scary for every other team in the league. His offensive versatility and defensive smarts will be perfect for the Bucks team looking to win a championship.

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About Nick Niles

I'm Nick Niles! I was born in Green Bay Wisconsin, raised in Appleton Wisconsin, and now I'm back in Green Bay at UW-GB studying Political Science and Public Administration. I have been a huge Bucks fan for as long as I have been alive, and I'm also passionate about writing. Twitter: @Bucks_Deluxe | @Nilesmania

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