Garrison Mathews might not be the sexiest name on the 2023-24 Atlanta Hawks’ roster. However, his three-point shooting ability and undeniable hustle on both ends of the court should endear him to Hawks fans far and wide whenever he touches the floor next season.
Mathews went undrafted in 2019 after a storied collegiate career at Lipscomb, where he remains the school’s all-time leader in points, free-throws, and three-pointers. He wouldn’t remain without an NBA contract for long, signing a two-way deal with the Washington Wizards prior to the 2019-20 season. Mathews would go on to spend two seasons with the Wizards, where he established himself as an NBA-caliber low usage/high volume three-point shooter before signing another two-way contract with the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2021 NBA season.
The Rockets converted Mathews’ two-way contract into a 4-year/$8.23-million regular season contract in December of 2021, and he was a rotation player in Houston before being dealt to the Hawks at last season’s trade deadline. Mathews played just 84 minutes across nine games for Atlanta after being acquired, going 10-for-25 (40%) from beyond the arc in his limited floor-time. Mathews has made 204 NBA appearances (including 57 starts) in his career, and the Hawks guaranteed his contract for the 2023-24 season on June 29th.
You’ve probably guessed by now, but the primary skill that Mathews will bring to the Hawks’ next season is… three-point shooting! He has an 84.8% three-point attempt rate for his career, which means that nearly 85% of all of his field goal attempts have come from three-point range. As far as efficiency goes, he can be a bit streaky at times, though his career three-point percentage (36.7%) is above the 2022-23 league average (36.1%), and he is not a player that defenses can forget about in the half-court, having drained 44.2% of his “wide-open”* three-point attempts over the past four seasons.
*How the nba.com/stats page denotes field goal attempts with no defender within 6-feet of the shooter
Mathews can certainly shoot the ball, however beyond the ability to ignite from the perimeter, he doesn’t offer too much else on the offensive end of the floor. He has never been much of a creator/initiator at the NBA level, dishing out just 1.6 assists per 100 possessions and posting a usage rate of 13.6% during his time in the NBA.
Moving on to the less glamorous end of the floor, don’t be surprised to see Mathews cause a spill or two along “Gucci-row” in an attempt to chase down a loose-ball at some point next season. Something that has always stuck with me when watching him play is the unwavering effort-level he shows whenever he takes the court. Though he is by no means a “lock-down” perimeter defender, Mathews plays hard, communicates well, and won’t be intimidated by the speed of the NBA game, which is all you can really ask for from a player with his skill set.
Despite being a long shot to appear in the opening night rotation, Garrison Mathews should provide the Hawks with a solid option to fill in at the 2 or 3 in the event of an injury. With “pace and space” becoming the mantra under Quin Snyder, he should serve as a nice depth piece on the wing for the 2023-24 Atlanta Hawks.
Disclaimer: All statistics used in this article are from either basketballreference.com, pbpstats.com, nba.com/stats, bball-index.com, or cleaningtheglass.com.