In a season full of disappointments and failure, the revitalized play of Wesley Matthews is a positive aspect for Dallas Mavericks fans to cling to.
In the summer of 2015 the Dallas Mavericks offered a 4 year contract worth $70 million dollars to Wesley Matthews. After suffering a brutal achilles injury the season prior, many fans didn’t have confidence in Matthews’ ability to recover from such a devastating ordeal.
The following year the Iron Man played in the first game of the season and 77 more to follow, a spectacular accomplishment in its own right. Despite many experts believing that a return by December even was a long shot, Matthews showed just how tough he was by being ready when called upon.
However, this didn’t quiet the naysayers. While simply being on the court as much as he was is something to be noted, Wes did not have a particularly good year. He averaged only 12.5 points, 1 steal, and shot 39% from the field and 36% from deep, all good for career lows with the exception of his rookie season. His struggles were understandable given the circumstances, but some fans were still unpleased with his performance.
Fast forward to the beginning of this season, after a summer of working out and reaching peak health, and Wesley Matthews was yet again struggling offensively. In the first 7 games of the 2016-17 season Wesley Matthews averaged 12.6 points per game on 29% from the field and 24% from three. With no injury excuse and the Mavs losing games, hope for Wes was not easily found.
Then, the eighth game of the season Matthews rested versus the Warriors, and ever since then he has played exceptionally well. In the past 12 games Wes has stepped up and been a force to be reckoned with. He has been dangerous from beyond the arc and is scoring far more efficiently. He has averaged 18 points per game on 43% shooting and going 46% from downtown. Teams are having to gameplan for Matthews, as he is torching teams from long range and giving the Mavs far better spacing offensively.
If you put into the equation the stellar defense Matthews plays night in night out, then even the pickiest and most demanding of fans couldn’t be unsatisfied. Wesley Matthews has become what Dallas hoped and anticipated he could be, one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA. While 12 games isn’t exactly a huge sample size, it appears that the new Iron Man isn’t a facade. This Wesley Matthews is the real deal, and teams will learn that one game at a time.
Without many things to be happy about this season, Mavs fans should rejoice that Matthews is now the player that we all hoped he would be whenever we initially offered him that seemingly crazy, undeserved contract. I hope to see many more arrows flying in the American Airlines Center. Let ’em fly, Wes. Let ’em fly.