Draft Night Could Influence the Future of Wesley Matthews
Armed with a high cap number, Wesley Matthews’ name has been thrown around the fan base as potential trade bait. Could the draft influence his roster status?
After DeAndre Jordan backed out of his deal in Dallas, Dallas upped their offer to Wesley Matthews and brought in the defensive wing on a deal worth $70 million over four years.
Now, after two years of the deal are complete, Dallas is at a position of getting younger after a disappointing season. Matthews, who had a down season to say the least, is on the books for $17.8 million next season with a player option on the next for $18.6 million.
With a rebuilding Dallas team who won just 33 games, Matthews’ contract, and a younger Seth Curry who might be playing the two spot, trade speculation among fans is only growing.
Could the NBA draft have an influence on the situation?
The Dallas Mavericks currently own the 9th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft where a plethora of names have been connected to the team.
The glaring need at the future point guard spot is obvious and because of that, two names have commonly been connected to Dallas: Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina.
This is where the Matthews fit could come into play.
Frank Ntilikina is a 6’5″ point guard from France that is 18 years old. What makes him intriguing as a prospect is his 7’1″ wingspan for a point guard. He also possesses an impressive outside shot, but isn’t as explosive as someone like Smith Jr. is.
If Ntilikina does come to Dallas, like many believe, he would be an intriguing long-term fit alongside of Seth Curry. The 6’2″ Curry doesn’t have the size to guard some of the best points in the league, so pairing him alongside of Ntilikina would be great.
Both players could interchange duties at point guard offensively while Ntilikina would take on the defensive role against elite guard opponents.
Assuming Nowitzki starts alongside of Noel in the front court, that would put Harrison Barnes at his natural three position. You could then pair the likes of Curry and Ntilikina in the back court and begin to explore trade possibilities for Wesley Matthews.
If Dennis Smith Jr. finds his way to Dallas, it could be a different story.
Smith Jr. is arguably the most athletic player in the draft and can score the ball at a high clip at the next level. The biggest knock against Smith Jr. is his effort on the defensive end and his smaller body frame and wingspan.
Standing at 6’3″, Smith Jr. also has a 6’3″ wingspan. Not really ideal on the defensive side of the ball guarding some of the best guards in the league.
How does that measure up to Seth Curry if you put them together in the same back court? Curry stands at 6’3″ with a 6’4″ wingspan. So basically the same general frame of Smith Jr. This would immediately pose a defensive problem and a question mark on who would defend the other team’s opposing point.
If Smith Jr. is the pick at nine, then putting Wesley Matthews alongside of him in the back court would be perfect.
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Matthews would be the same, lockdown defender he is today and would give Smith accountability on the defensive side of the ball both verbally and physically. It would also take the ball out of Matthews’ hands on the offensive side of the ball and would allow him more open looks from behind the arc as a result of Smith Jr.’s penetration.
Also, if the effort levels on defensive is a problem now, what better of a guy in Matthews could Dallas put alongside of him to help change that mindset and motor?
Bottom line, the draft pick next week will probably not determine Matthews’ future on the team, but if they went by actual fit, then it very well could.
If Ntilikina is the pick at nine, then rolling out him and Curry in the back court would be smart and exploring trades with Matthews is a possibility. But if Smith Jr. is the pick at nine, then I believe you have to put Matthews alongside of him in the back court.
Next: Dallas Mavericks 2017 NBA Draft Big Board 5.0
With the statistics he finished with last year at the cap number he is, making a case of trading Matthews is easy. But I’m not ready to jump ship yet as the draft could shine more light on his future.