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2023-24 Atlanta Hawks player preview: Wesley Matthews

An undrafted NBA legend.

Atlanta Hawks Media Day Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Wesley Matthews is entering his 15th year in the NBA in 2023-24, so there’s little he hasn’t seen in this league and there’s little about his game that is unknown. Matthews broke into the league as an undrafted free agent, but has since put together one of the best careers of any undrafted player in NBA history.

When Matthews steps onto the court for the first time as a Hawks, he’ll join a small group of undrafted players to ever appear in 15 different seasons of NBA play:

Most NBA Seasons by an Undrafted Player

Rank Player Seasons From To
Rank Player Seasons From To
1 Udonis Haslem 20 2003-04 2022-23
2 Moses Malone 19 1976-77 1994-95
3 (tie) Ben Wallace 16 1996-97 2011-12
3 (tie) Avery Johnson 16 1988-89 2003-04
5 (tie) Chris Andersen 15 2001-02 2016-17
5 (tie) Bo Outlaw 15 1993-94 2007-08
5 (tie) Scott Williams 15 1990-91 2004-05
5 (tie)* Wesley Matthews 15* 2009-10 2023-24*

At this stage of his career, he’s purely a 3-and-D player — someone who rarely strays from catch-and-shoot threes on offense (no fewer than 70% of his shots from three in each of the last four season) and offers toughness and positional flexibility on defense. It’s entirely possible Matthews is largely cut out of the rotation unless a rash of injuries strike the Hawks this season, but when called upon he’ll most certainly stay within his role.

“One of the biggest ways I can help this team is just being myself,” Matthews had to say at media day this preseason. “Help lead. Chemistry. Pointers. I’ve been at this for a long time.” Later, he talked about building a winning culture, saying, “You want to win in the playoffs. But there are a lot of things you have to do to in order to be ready for the playoffs and to win in the playoffs. And now, with the In-Season Tournament, you have something that’s tangible. Something that you can hold on to. Something that you can go out and do [and] be champions.”

From his humble NBA beginnings in being overlooked in the 2009 Draft, Matthews has had to fight for everything he’s built in this career. He spent the past four seasons between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. And while he wasn’t able to lift a trophy himself, the two organizations were two of the most recent NBA champions. And so, there’s no doubt the Hawks are hoping Matthews can help bring a blue collar work ethic and a winning mentality in bringing him this season.