Hardwood Paroxysm has put together a fantastic 2012-13 NBA season preview magazine. View the whole thing here. Portland-based artist Maddison Bond contributed some fantastic artwork and Oregon-based writer Sean Highkin weighed in on the Portland Trail Blazers, including this section on Wesley Matthews.
Just how much worse was Wesley Matthews at attacking the basket last season than in 2010-11? 14.4% worse. The two extremes of modern basketball argument (especially on the Internet) are "You can't just rely on what you see, you need numbers to give it context" and "Stats are for nerds, I actually watch the games." There are times, however, when the numbers thoroughly back up what you watched, and Matthews' futility on the break is one of them. A lot of things went badly for the Blazers last season, but lost in the more highly publicized failings of Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford was Matthews' regression. And nowhere was this more visible than any time he got close to the basket. A Wesley Matthews fast break quickly became a source of dread and groans for Blazers fans, as it was almost guaranteed to result in a turnover or missed scoring opportunity.
In Nate McMillan's slow-it-down offense, a player like Matthews could get away with not attacking the rim. But Terry Stotts' higher-octane, ball-movement-heavy system and new point guard Damian Lillard's explosiveness lend itself to a style in which the Blazers' starting shooting guard has become a colossal liability. The team may not have much to play for this year outside of another lottery pick, but on a roster that still figures to be in shuffle mode for the next few years, Matthews has to prove that he can adapt to the new coach and point guard.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter