The free agency period in the NBA has begun and the craziness didn’t wait long to follow. Teams and players left and right were mixing up their rosters in what has become a yearly tradition.
The Dallas Mavericks have not been left out, though at this point they have done much more subtracting than adding. One of the pieces that they have added to the team is former Portland Trailblazer Wesley Matthews.
The 6’ 5’’ shooting guard agreed verbally to a four year deal with the Dallas Mavericks to help a team that couldn’t currently fill out an NBA roster. Matthews is a really nice piece who can score from beyond the arc and is a solid defensive guard.
Both his long range scoring ability and defensive prowess will be an upgrade for the Mavs, who at points last season looked to be playing only offense. Matthews will allow the Mavs more options on offense and a locked in defender on defense.
The only question mark for Matthews is his ability to come back and play following a torn Achilles during a game in March of this year. The Achilles injury is one that players fear as it makes it very difficult to return to full athletic form.
In the past two decades nearly 30 NBA players have gone down from this type of injury, with three happening last season to Anderson Varejao, Brandon Jennings, and Xavier Henry in addition to Matthews.
Historically, those stricken with this injury have had careers altered and six of those players, including Isiah Thomas, never played NBA ball again. For those who did, they averaged almost seven points less per game for the rest of their careers.
There is one player who defied those odds and came back at the same level. Dominique Wilkins came back from a torn Achilles and made two more NBA All-Star games at the age of 33 and 34, five years older than Matthews.
It is important to keep in mind that Wilkins is the exception and not the rule when it comes to returning and being productive from a torn Achilles. This doesn’t mean that Matthews can’t or won’t be able to, it just means that it will be incredibly difficult.
If he can produce at a similar level to what he did in Portland, this is great move to get a piece that makes the Mavs better. If not, he will be another body that the Mavs will pay to fill out their roster.
Hopefully he makes it back and becomes a piece of a championship, but the most important thing is to have some cautious optimism about his case. Here’s hoping he gets back just as strong.