Wesley Matthews 2019 Season Review

Veteran guard Wesley Matthews, who was acquired by the Pacers in February, talked about his experience with the team.

Wesley Matthews 2019 Season Review

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Wesley Matthews 2019 Season Review

Veteran guard Wesley Matthews, who was acquired by the Pacers in February, talked about his experience with the team.
May 13, 2019  |  02:57

Wesley Matthews 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Wesley Matthews' 2018-19 season.
May 13, 2019  |  00:59

Matthews Gets the Clutch Putback

March 14, 2019: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 14, 2019  |  04:26

Player Review 2019: Wesley Matthews

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer

Age: 32
Years Pro: 10
Status: Free agent
Key Stats: Played in 23 games and averaged 10.9 points on 39 percent shooting, including 37 percent from 3-point range.

Just four years ago, Wesley Matthews was one of the most-prized catches of the free agent marketplace. Sacramento offered a four-year, $64 million deal, but it wasn't enough. He signed instead with Dallas. For $70 million.

Matthews was once again a prized free agent catch in February after he was released by New York, which had just acquired him in a trade with the Mavericks. Suddenly available for a pro-rated share of the veteran's minimum, he had some impressive suitors. He said he received telephoned come-ons from star players with San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Philadelphia, but accepted the Pacers' offer because of the promise to become a starter.

Did it pay off? Hard to say. Somebody had to step in for Victor Oladipo, who was lost for the season on Jan. 23. Nate McMillan tried Tyreke Evans in the vacated two-guard spot, then Edmond Sumner, then Cory Joseph, and ultimately went back to Evans. Problem was, Evans preferred playing with the second unit where he was enabled to utilize his strengths, Joseph lacked the scoring punch needed for the job, and Sumner simply wasn't ready for such a demanding role.

PHOTO GALLERY: Wesley Matthews' 2018-19 Season in Photos »

Enter Matthews, a 10-year veteran with a career scoring average of 14, career 3-point accuracy of 38 percent, and an aggressive defender. He seemed as good a candidate as could be had under the circumstances, and for a while played up to expectations. After a two-game acclimation period and the All-Star break, he scored 24 points while hitting 6-of-11 3-pointers in the first post-break game against New Orleans. That began a streak in which he scored in double figures in eight consecutive games, during which he averaged 14.5 points and hit 42 percent of his 3-pointers.

Wesley Matthews

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

The highlight of that stretch came against Oklahoma City on March 14. He scored 16 points while hitting 4-of-7 3-pointers and added a team-high seven rebounds. He also made crucial plays in the closing seconds, one at each end — forcing a turnover on Paul George with 38 seconds left and rushing in from the right side to put Bojan Bogdanovic's missed jumper back through the basket for the game-winning points.

That turned out to be his peak moment. Over the final seven games he averaged just 7.3 points on 31 percent shooting, including 33 percent from 3-point range. That turned out to be a prelude to the playoffs, when he averaged seven points on 30 percent shooting in the four-game series with Boston and finished with as many turnovers as assists (eight).

He played aggressive defense in the series, but as Kevin Pritchard said in his season wrap-up press conference, you have to be able to manufacture points to win in the playoffs. The Pacers were competitive in every game, but surpassed 100 points only once. Oladipo's scoring from the shooting guard position was never replaced, and sorely missed.

Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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