There’s a stark contrast between the play of shooting guard Wesley Matthews and shooting guard Monta Ellis.
While Ellis is a clutch shooter who lives for game-winning buckets, his range from 3-point distance – not to mention his defense – left a lot to be desired. Ellis shot 28.5 percent from 3-point range last season and is a career 31.4 percent shooter from downtown.
Matthews earned a reputation as one of the best 3-and-D (3-point shooter and defender) players in the NBA.
Not only did Matthews convert a team-record 826 shots from 3-point range during his five seasons in Portland. But he also had a passion for his all-out hustle and proficiency for playing sturdy defense.
At 6-5 and 220 pounds, Matthews is taller and heavier than Ellis (6-3, 185), who treated defense like it was a foreign substance. By contrast, Matthews takes pride in his ability to be a shut-down perimeter defender.
Since the NBA is loaded with shooting guards taller than Ellis, the Mavs desperately needed one to keep up with the times and make a stronger presence on defense.
Because Matthews is a solid defender, that reduces the amount of time the Mavs’ center has to take cleaning up the shooting guard’s defensive mistakes. That certainly wasn’t the case with Ellis.
Also, a career 39.4 percent shooter from 3-point range, Matthews will work wonders in Rick Carlisle’s flow offense, where the ball is tossed around the perimeter and the open player is the one who most likely will take the shot.
The big question surrounding Matthews is his health.
During a March 5 home game against the Mavs, Matthews tore his left Achilles tendon and wound up undergoing season-ending surgery six days later. Mavs head athletic trainer Casey Smith and Carlisle met with Matthews in Los Angeles on Tuesday night during the team’s recruiting process.
While Smith and his training staff is considered one of the best in the NBA, Matthews, who turns 29 on Oct. 14, was back on the basketball court 12 weeks after surgery and is considered ahead of schedule in his rehab process.
In addition, Ellis was frequently moody, often wore a frown on his face and wasn’t exactly media-friendly. Matthews, meanwhile, was well-loved by the fans in Portland.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760