Wesley Matthews entered Summer League last year as an undrafted rookie who was a long shot to make any NBA roster. Playing well last summer, he was invited to training camp with the Utah Jazz. After injury problems to both CJ Miles and Kyle Korver, Wes was able to secure a roster spot and playing time early on for the Jazz. He didn’t disappoint either, earning the respect of head coach Jerry Sloan with his tough defense and offensive efficiency.
Matthews ended up playing in all 82 games for Utah and eventually took over the starting role after the departure of Ronnie Brewer. He ended up offering more for Utah’s system than Brewer could, which says a lot. Matthews provided a more consistent jump shooter to space the floor and played even better defense, many nights against the other team’s best player. Throughout the season, he was able to show maturity beyond his years and earned his spot in this league for years to come.
The Portland Trail Blazers signed him to a front loaded, substantial offer sheet this offseason, that Utah would have had a hard time matching regardless of their other signings. Many have questioned the size of the contract offered to Matthews as he is still a relatively unproven player in the league. Matthews has officially signed with Portland as of this week and is looking forward to the next chapter. The Blazers were very interested in his defensive ability as they think he is one of the most talented, emerging wing defenders in the NBA. Depending on how his offensive game matures, he could look well worth that money down the line. It is still yet to be seen how they will play him since there is currently a massive logjam at the guard position in Portland. The way they talk about him though, it sounds like he’ll be getting the minutes.
Whatever happens from here on out, Matthews is one of the inspiring storylines for many aspiring ball players not taken in the first round who are looking to make rosters this year. He proved that sometimes all a guy needs is an opportunity.