The Los Angeles Lakers have the depth that has kept them at the top of NBA rankings thus far. Among the bench members is guard Wesley Matthews.
During the Lakers contest against the Chicago Bulls, Matthews got his first start with the team. He showered four three-point shots on Chicago, ultimately scoring 14 points.
“He’s a good shooter, I always believe the ball is going in when [Matthews] shoots it,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “I think if we continue to work for shot quality, he’s gonna knock down threes; he’s shone that throughout his career.”
Matthews has been a starter for most of his 10-year career; coming off the bench can be a challenging transition. However, he takes it in stride.
“This year has been an unconventional year all across the board, so if there was a time to come off the bench, I think it would be now,” he said. “You got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, this is just only gonna make me better and I’m ready for whenever my name is called with whatever role it is.”
Dealing with uncertainty is nothing new to Matthews as he played for the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks during the 2018-2019 season.
“As a player, you’re just ready for whatever, we put a lot of preparation in in-season, off-season just to prepare yourself for whatever the situation, whatever the outcome is,” he said.
During his NBA career, Matthews has had Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Patty Mills, and Giannis Antetokoumpo as teammates. With the Lakers, he has four-time NBA champion LeBron James dishing him passes. When Matthews is on the court with James, he knows to stay ready.
“He can see the court better than anybody,” Matthews said. “Always have your hands ready, be shot ready; he spaces the court out.”
With the Lakers, Matthews has scored in the double digits in three different games. In the Lakers 121-107 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, Matthews scored a season high of 18 points, going 6-6 from behind the arc.
“Matthews is big time for our team,” James said. “When he’s running the floor or when he’s finding himself on the weak side, I just try to find him and when he has space, he’s a quick trigger.”
For the first three seasons in the NBA, Matthews never missed a game. He scored 9.4 points per game as a rookie with the Utah Jazz and 15.9 points per game during his sophomore season with the Blazers.
In January 2015, Matthews became Portland’s all-time career leader in three-pointers made when he landed his 773rd shot.
Matthews has missed the Lakers’ away games against the Houston Rockets due to an Achilles injury. He sustained a similar injury on March 2015, which sidelined him for the rest of that season. During his career, Matthews has scored 13.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.