Mavericks: Wesley Matthews Regaining Form


The Mavericks top free agent signing is starting to regain his form and become that complete player the Mavericks so desperately need.

Perhaps this is an overreaction to the offensive spectacle Wesley Matthews made on Sunday. Against the Washington Wizards, Wesley Matthews led the Mavericks to victory behind his 36 point, six rebound, and five assist night. Matthews, long struggling from three-point land, finally found his long-range touch, going 10-of-17 from beyond the arch on 59% 3-point shooting.

Am I just being a prisoner of the moment or was this spectacle something more?

I’m here to say, three days later, those original feelings have not subsided. Even after he followed that spectacular game up with only 10 points (3-of-8 from 3pt) against the New York Knicks on Monday, I truly believe Wesley Matthews is back. Or at least well on his way.

This isn’t a coming-out party for the free agent consolation prize of the 2015 offseason* but rather a sign of things to come.

"*Few will argue that the (near) signing of DeAndre Jordan dominated the headlines for a couple days in Mavs Land. Wesley Matthews made headlines, but he was more often mentioned after the phrase, “Also agreeing to terms with the Mavericks is…”"

Wes Matthews never seemed to get his due credit when he signed with the Mavericks. Perhaps it was the Achilles injury, perhaps it was the limited national exposure he received with his former team (Portland Trailblazers), or perhaps it was the enormous contract (4 years/ $70,060,500) that tempered the enthusiasm toward signing him.

Whatever the reason, Wes Matthews has been clearly overlooked by nearly everyone. And if anything, his lackluster game against the Knicks proved it. You read that right, the game against the Knicks. It’s because even when struggling from the field, Wesley Matthews is a player rarely seen in these parts – a defender.

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That’s what makes Wes Matthews so great for this Mavs team. He’s one of those rare high-effort two-way players. If he’s struggles from the field offensively, he makes up for it defensively. Against the Knicks he struggled offensively but he never got discouraged and kept up the effort on the other end of the court, harassing Carmelo Anthony heavily.

Obviously defense alone doesn’t justify Matthews’ enormous contract. It’s those superstar games he had on Sunday that provide the justification. But it’s everything else to his game that make him a great fit on this Mavs team and his efforts to get back to his pre-injury form do not go unnoticed by his teammates.

"“He’s just a good guy, Dirk Nowitzki said. “He works for the team. He always has to guard the best offensive player on the other team. You just have to support a guy like that who puts the team first and works so hard.”"

Next: Is Dirk Getting Better With Age?

Matthews isn’t 100% back from last year’s Achilles injury, that won’t likely happen until next season, but he is clearly regaining his form. Rick Carlisle must think so or he wouldn’t be substantially upping his minutes. Matthews averaged 29.7 minutes per game in November but in December he’s over 37 minutes per game.

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If the Mavericks can get increases in minutes like that in Chandler Parsons and JaVale McGee sometime soon, they could really make some noise in the West this season.