With the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the offseason earlier than expected, Rob Pelinka must figure out how to improve the roster in order to get the team back to the promised land.
The signings from last offseason looked solid on paper but never got the chance to coalesce because of numerous factors. Wesley Matthews was considered a worthwhile addition, but the veteran had an up-and-down 2020-21 season.
Despite Matthews’ inconsistent play and diminished role, he was adamant about coming back to Los Angeles. “There’s no question that in my mind and in my heart that I want to run it back and as far as my role and the ups and downs of the season I don’t take any of it personally,” Matthews said. “I like to be a straight shooter, call a spade a spade and so in order to do that you have to have personal accountability and not have no problem. I have no problem owning up to that which was some of the inconsistent play that I had. But at the same time, you have to recognize the situations that you’re in, recognize the situation that’s around you.
“I definitely take ownership on my play, but at the same time I’m honest with not only myself but with what everybody else had to deal with. Obviously feel and know I could’ve played better but at the same time I do know that I brought everything that I had, I left it out on the court every single night, and showed flashes of who I can be, what I can be, who I am in certain situations and like I said to start this out, there’s no doubt I want to run it back.”
Matthews perked up toward the end of the season and in the playoffs as he showed off his hard-nosed defense and grit, always competing whenever he did see the floor. His outside shooting went cold along with the rest of the Lakers roster, but it seems as though that was more of a fluke than it was a reality.
With limited resources to fill out the team, it would make sense to bring Matthews back and he should look better with more time to gel and practice next season.
Matthews believes what-ifs will always exist
Health was the only question mark when it came to the Lakers’ title hopes, and Matthews noted that there will always be unanswered questions when it comes to basketball. “You always have what-ifs. You always have those thoughts,” Matthews said. “What-if. I still think about the what-if if I never would’ve tore my Achilles with that Portland team that we had.
“But at the end of the day, injuries took us out but we continued to fight and I think that’s just the pedigree, that’s the expectation that when you throw that Laker uniform on, when you’re a part of this organization that it’s going to be the next man up. Obviously it was less than ideal. We stay healthy all season, who knows? But that definitely will always be something that will be thought of and like I said, I want to run it back.”
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