Dallas Mavericks Need Wesley Matthews to Step Up

Jan 12, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the American Airlines Center. The Cavaliers defeat the Mavericks 110-107 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the American Airlines Center. The Cavaliers defeat the Mavericks 110-107 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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After making him the highest paid player on the team this past offseason, it’s time for Wesley Matthews to live up to the contract.

It was a busy offseason for the Dallas Mavericks, as they had lots of cap space and few players to spend it on. The Mavs front office decided to use a bulk of that cap space on the former Blazer shooting guard Wesley Matthews.

Dallas signed him to a four-year $70m contract, suggesting that they have high expectations following his recovery from a knee injury. Now we are over halfway through the regular season, and the Mavericks aren’t getting the production from Matthews that they paid for.

Wesley Matthews is primarily known as a “3 and D” guy, specializing as a long-range threat and lock down defender.

Over Matthews’ career he has averaged 39% from deep though this season he is down to 35%. He has fallen to only 12.5 points per game as well, in contrast to his 14.4 career average. While he averages a career 14.6 player efficiency rating, this season it has fallen to 11.4. In addition, his defensive rating is down to 107 this year, compared to his career average of 108.5.

Some may say that Matthews should be given some slack. After all, he is coming off of an Achilles rupture. That injury, however, occurred nearly a year ago, and he has been playing regular minutes for most of the season now, averaging 33 minutes per game.

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When comparing his $16m cap hit to the other starters, we find Chandler Parsons earning about the same at $15m, who also is having a disappointing overall year thus far.

However, Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia, and Deron Williams combined make under $20m. Williams is making a measly $5m this year and is having a significantly better season.

There have been times this season when we have seen flashes of the old Wesley Matthews, like when he hit a franchise high ten three pointers in a game. When he is playing up to his potential, he is a lethal deep threat and a top five wing defender in the league.

If Matthews can find a way to access his old performance level, he is well worth the wait and the $70m dollars. However, with less than half of the regular season remaining and the trade deadline looming, its high time Matthews figured it out.

Matthews is having the worst season statistically of his career, and he needs to step it up. The Mavs’ most expensive player isn’t playing like it, and if Dallas wants to make a real splash this postseason, they will need better production from the Iron Man.