Veteran Poise: Wesley Matthews
The Orlando Magic are likely still going to consider themselves a playoff team, at least to start the season, even despite Jonathan Isaac’s injury. Whether they can sell to free agents that they are still a playoff team — and a whole lot more — will be another question.
The Magic at least need to look for veterans to supplement their roster and provide the poise and skill they need to succeed.
This will go double if the Magic decide to let D.J. Augustin walk in free agency. Orlando will need a veteran to keep the team level and loose through the long NBA journey.
There are probably two veterans on this market who would make a real difference for this team.
The first is Paul Millsap. But making a long-term investment in him seems a bit off with the Magic’s glut at power forward.
The other is Wesley Matthews.
The 34-year-old guard is a bit undersized at 6-foot-4. But he makes up for that lack of size with defensive grit and long-range shooting ability. At this point in his career, he knows exactly who he is as a player and how he can contribute to a winning team.
Rip City Project
Matthews has done a good job proving he can still play even after he tore his Achilles in 2015.
Undoubtedly though, he is on something of a decline. Age is catching up to him.
He averaged only 7.4 points per game, the fewest of his career. He shot 36.4-percent from deep, shooting almost exclusively 3-pointers for the Milwaukee Bucks last year. He still started all 67 games he appeared in.
He is an efficient shooter, making 55-percent effective field goal percentage off screens. But his shooting is a bit streakier than his reputation might hold. And it has definitely started to decline. Matthews would be brought on for his intangibles and the moments his shooting is going well.
This past year, he did not do much driving. And the real value he adds is on the defensive end.
Despite his smaller size, Matthews is a tough defender. He is strong and has a solid base to knock off bigger defenders who try to post him up. Teams that try to hunt him on defense, usually are not successful.
This is part of what makes him an intriguing target. But he is another win-now move for the Magic. A player meant to help them stay afloat and take them over the top.
He is not a player on his own that will do that.