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Pinning Down Wesley Matthews

I get asked plenty of questions about the Blazers, most of which I can answer in a heartbeat. One commonly-asked question still has me debating internally, ferociously at that. The query: What will Wesley Matthews turn out to be?

I am unabashed in my praise of Portland for picking up Matthews last off-season, especially given the circumstances. It was a brilliant move, made even more so by the derision around the league when the Blazers offered the supposedly-inflated contract required to secure him. Wes Money has justified those dollars so far and then some. The Blazers would have been in dire straits without him last season.

I'm also quite comfortable putting Matthews in the hallowed category of players you'll never be sad to have on your team. No matter the fit, no matter the figure, big minutes or small Matthews will be a guy you can root for because he'll contribute. He can play on both ends of the floor. He hustles. He works. He doesn't disrupt the flow. He even spouts the occasional 20-point game. There's no real downside to seeing his name on your roster.

At moments during those torrid scoring streaks Matthews looks like a star. When he adds in a few of those precise steals he looks like the ever-elusive championship-level player. Then again, he's not the type of guy you can feed the ball to and rely upon to carry the team. He has trouble creating his own shot. His dribble drive gets ugly quickly. He doesn't seem to push the dagger home when he has it to the opponent's throat. At times even his vaunted defense looks pedestrian. Then again the guy is incredibly young. Who knows how much his game will refine over the next few years?

So...I can't answer this question definitively. Maybe you can help. What do you see Wesley Matthews growing into? What kind of contributions will he make and in what areas? Do you think he will blossom with the Blazers? Will they be able to make him a focal point? Give your opinions below in the poll and in the comment section.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)