Back in the infant stages of the 2013-14 NBA season when people were still trying to gage which teams in the league were quality or not, there were many doubters when it came to the Portland Trail Blazers. As the Blazers improbably started out the year as the best team in the Western Conference, there were many that were quick to discount their early success.
While some people talked about the Blazers’ schedule being weak as the reason behind their success, one of the other things that cropped up in discussions regarding this Portland team was the possibility of regression. After all, this team had players all throughout their roster playing out of their minds and was shooting the ball at an unreal clip as a team to start the year.
One of the prime candidates for regression was guard Wesley Matthews. Over the first month of the season, Matthews was the Trail Blazers’ third leading scorer while averaging 17.2 points per game. The most incredible part of Matthews’ performance in November was surely the fact that he was shooting 56.6 percent from the field and an unreal 51.7 percent.
I’ve written this season that a lot of the Blazers’ success this season is the fact that their offense is running so smoothly and allowing shooters to get open on the perimeter. Even with getting good looks, though, Matthews’ unreal shooting percentages seemed like something that could easily drop going forward.
It’s only December and that regression has already started for Matthews. Through 12 games, Matthews is shooting only 42.8 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from three, which is obviously far from what he did in November. He’s remained productive in terms of totals, but his efficiency has fallen off noticeably.
Matthews probably isn’t this inefficient of a shooter, but he’s also not the monster who can’t miss like the way that he played in November. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of what he did last month and what he’s doing this month. Either way, this Blazers team is rolling and Matthews will continue to play a big part in that.