Grading Wesley Matthews’ one year deal to return to the Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 02 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Assessing Wesley Matthews’ fit and role with the Milwaukee Bucks

There is a reason that Wesley Matthews became more and more crucial for the Milwaukee Bucks as the 2021-22 NBA season progressed. Some were initially skeptical of the decision to bring him aboard mid-season, but the guard quickly silenced those concerns as he proved to be a perfect fit on this Milwaukee roster due to the role he would play nightly, which could be simply categorized as a prototypical “3-and-D” wing.

Offensively, the Bucks did not ask Matthews to do much last season, as he averaged 5.8 points per game, the second-fewest in his 13-year career. That was primarily because the veteran was often tasked with serving as nothing more than a spot-up 3-point shooter to give the Bucks more outside shooting. Matthews struggled to find consistency with his shot as he knocked down just 33.8 percent of his total triples, but that was primarily due to his inefficiency on pull-up attempts. Per NBA/com/stats, Matthews shot an ugly 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) on his pull-up 3-pointers last season, but buried an efficient 51-of-139 (36.7 percent) of his catch and shoot triples. Obviously, it is not controversial to say that Matthews is far better as a catch and shoot threat, and if he can knock those down with some consistency next season, it will be good enough.

On the other side of the basketball, Matthews will be utilized far more heavily, as evidenced by his role last season. The most significant reason why Matthews was promoted to being a starter late in the season was due to his defense, as the veteran could be tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best wing, a challenge he would gladly accept. When the Bucks square off against prolific scorers like Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, or Jimmy Butler, Matthews can take the assignment of pestering them from the opening tip-off, which alleviates pressure off of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and the rest of Milwaukee’s defenders. Having a player that can take that responsibility is significant, especially in the postseason, so Matthews will continue to have an important role next season on that end.

Due to what he brings on both ends, Matthews will fit snugly into Milwaukee’s rotation next year. The Bucks needed more players on the wing, and re-signing Matthews helps provide some depth in that regard. As for playing time, Matthews will likely find himself on the floor for around 15-20 minutes per game in a bench role. The addition of MarJon Beauchamp, the Bucks’ 2022 first round pick, could have an impact on Matthews’ playing time, as the rookie is another versatile wing that coach Mike Budenholzer will likely look to utilize in similar positions, but there will still be plenty of playing time for Matthews.