caseyholdahl

Jan 31

Wesley Matthews Is Ready For Seconds

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, LaMarcusAldridge, WesleyMatthews
When it comes to deciding which players should make up the sophomore squad for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge And Youth Jam (known hereafter simply as the Rookie/Sophomore game), Wesley Matthews' resume speaks for itself.

Among his second-year peers, Matthews is first in three-pointers made at 86, second in scoring at 16.1 points per game, second in free-throws attempted (184) and made (154), fourth in free-throw percentage (84%), fourth in steals per game at 1.26, fifth in minutes per game at 33.1 and sixth in three-point shooting percentage (38%). He’s got the kind of game that is uncommon for a second-year player, and an undrafted player at that.

But that’s kind of the problem for Matthews, at least as it pertains to making the sophomore squad. He acts and plays so much like a seasoned veteran that the assistant coaches whose votes decide the rookie/sophomore rosters might forget that Wesley is only one season removed from a four-year career at Marquette. After all, a few of Matthews’ teammates have been known to make the same mistake, and they see the guy every day.

“(LaMarcus Aldridge) forgot I was a second-year guy,” said Matthews. “I pride myself on not looking like a rookie or a second-year guy. I didn't think I looked like a rookie last year.”

Not to mention he wasn’t a rookie with the Portland Trail Blazers last year, which is one of the reasons why Aldridge, who is also waiting to hear what he’ll be doing All-Star weekend, sometimes forgets that his fellow starter is still in just his second season.

“(Matthews) wasn't here as a rookie so that's why I forget he's a sophomore sometimes,” said LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s All-Star fate will be determined on Thursday. “But he doesn't play like a sophomore; he plays bigger than a sophomore. He plays like he's been in the league three or four years. He plays confident and he plays with heart.”

Those two traits, along with a healthy dose of maturity rarely seen out of a second-year player, are the primary reasons Matthews has been able to make it in the NBA despite being passed over by every team in the NBA, twice. Those traits are also why Matthews is all but a lock to spend All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.

But should he? Some have argued that the Trail Blazers would be better served if all their players, be it Matthews or Aldridge, spend three days resting rather than practicing and playing, even in games that make exhibition matches look like Game 7s. Matthews has been nursing an ankle injury and is averaging 37.2 minutes per game since joining the starting lineup, but neither of those issues are enough to dissuade Wesley.

“I don't think there are too many people who wouldn't want to be a part of All-Star Weekend,” said Matthews. “Outside of the championship, it's the biggest event for our sport. A huge collection of talent in one spot, and to be invited, to be a part of that talent, it's a great accomplishment.”

Matthews will know soon enough whether he has achieved that accomplishment, but until then, Wesley says he’ll keep doing the things that have him in the running for a spot at All-Star weekend.

Said Matthews: “I can only control myself. I can't control what other players are doing, can't control what other coaches are thinking. I just play basketball and hopefully that's enough.”

9 Comments

  1. good info- I think he definitely deserves to make the game but there is also something to say for a couple days rest. But I think it would be nice to have the blazers represented at all star weekend with both Wes and LA.

    by RedRudy5 on 1/31/2011 8:11 PM
  2. Wesley's rankings among second year player SHOULD make him a lock for the invite. There is another player who benefited from playing 4 years at college; his name is Brandon Roy, remember him?

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/31/2011 8:35 PM
  3. wesley ıs a good shooter ın tıme he ıs gonna be good wıth team ...ı thınk he ıs gonna better after brondon roy ıs back to team and andre mıller should play fast he ıs playın so much wıth ball fınally ı am gonna say ı am from turky and ı am a blazers fan for nba ..see yaa fellas:)

    by sunny on 1/31/2011 8:46 PM
  4. It had long been my stance that if players want to play, regardless of the game, that they should play. Wesley really wants to play in the rook/soph game, so he should, even if the rest would probably be better for the team in the long run.

    Thanks for the comments. Sunny, you one of at least two Blazers fans from Turkey. Anabee, where you at?

    by caseyholdahl on 1/31/2011 8:52 PM
  5. I really hope he goes. He has worked his tail off and is a solid player who still has plenty of ceiling. He is going to keep getting better and building on what he has done so far. The stats you provided Casey really put his game as a 2nd year guy in perspective. He wasn't drafted and the team that gave him a chance passed on keeping him. There has to be some payoff (beyond money), and coaches can give him that by selecting him to go and recognizing his great game. Rest? He's young, hungry, and according to Coach Nate, "a warrior"! Plus, he wants to be Ironman when he grows up, so a guy like that doesn't need rest! (jk btw, if you can't tell!)

    by SisillaRiann on 1/31/2011 10:40 PM
  6. Casey:

    If he is selected doesn't he have to go if not injured? Or does that just pretain to the All-Star game itself.

    EowynAmarie:

    It is true he doesn't need the rest, he can rest when he gets old. In fact I just told that to my wife, At times i wished I was old LOL.

    by Hg on 2/1/2011 2:42 AM
  7. If Wesley Matthews doesn't look like a rookie or sophomore, what does a rookie look like and what does a sophomore look like?

    by tominhawaii on 2/1/2011 8:18 AM
  8. ^^^ Bad acne and terrible haircut?

    by shynz0r on 2/1/2011 1:40 PM
  9. I'll agree with the terrible haircut, but i have very nice skin.

    by caseyholdahl on 2/1/2011 2:02 PM
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