So, the Atlanta Hawks decided to move on from Tyrese Martin, signing the veteran Wesley Matthews to a one-year deal. This says that the Hawks are looking to contend by having every piece on their 15-man roster able to contribute.
Martin showed us glimpses of his talent in the 2022 Summer League and then in the G League last season. He showed us some of his potential again in the 2023 Summer League. However, it is so unlikely that he would crack the rotation this season that the Hawks made the right short-term move to sign Matthews.
The 14-year veteran is a 6’4″ combo wing who gives the Hawks another solid option off the bench. He can play solid minutes at both the shooting guard and the small forward position which will give the Hawks greater flexibility in their rotations.
So why did the Atlanta Hawks choose to go with Wesley Matthews?
Besides Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Atlanta Hawks have very few players on the bench who can come on and change the outcome of a game. Matthews can use his experience and his floor spacing ability to influence the course of a contest.
While he only shot the long ball at 31.5 percent last season, he has a career number of 37.6 percent from beyond the arc. If Matthews can recapture some of his shooting form from earlier on in his career then he will be an effective weapon for the franchise.
There is a growing sentiment amongst the fanbase that the Hawks should have signed a big man to back up Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu. Bruno Fernando is a solid defender but really does not add much to the rotation, especially at the offensive end.
However, over the last few seasons when the Hawks have had an injury crisis, it has been in the wing position. De’Andre Hunter and Bogdanovic have had spotty histories with injury and AJ Griffin is only entering his second year while Garrison Mathews is still yet to cement a spot in the rotation.
While this position is strong on paper, the Hawks have a level of fragility which could cost them later in the season. Having a wing with the level of experience of Matthews could help the Hawks win a couple of games throughout the season and there is no telling how important this could be in the final standings.
Time will tell whether the Hawks have made the right call. Should they have gone with Matthews or a big man? The results will speak for themselves at the end of the season. Is he going to have a huge impact on the Hawks’ rotations? It is very doubtful.
The bigger impact that he will have will be in the locker room.