After being one of the best three-point shooting teams the two previous seasons, the 2022-23 Hawks quickly realized that this season would be very different. From the beginning of the season to the end of January, Atlanta was shooting just 34.6% from three — 22nd in the NBA — and had made the fewest threes per game in the NBA with just 10.6 per contest.
At the trade deadline, the Hawks moved assets to bring in two shooters in Saddiq Bey and Garrison Mathews along with big man Bruno Fernando. Although the overall shooting profile remained largely unchanged from February to the end of the season, Bey’s offensive contributions at the forward position helped the Hawks post a 119.5 offensive rating since the hiring of head coach Quin Synder that month — good for fourth in the NBA in that span.
Mathews quickly became the forgotten man of the shooting duo, however. While Bey was immediately inserted in the rotation, Mathews largely watched the action from the bench. Mathews saw minutes in only nine out of a possible 24 regular season games after being acquired by the Hawks, and as a result he was unsurprisingly left out of the postseason rotation.
Since coming into the league in 2019 as an undrafted free agent from Lipscomb, Mathews has made a name for himself with the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets as a deadeye movement shooter. Through over 200 NBA games, Mathews is a career 37% shooter from deep. And he isn’t shy about putting them up either, taking around 85% of his career shots from behind the arc.
Mathews was able to show off his shooting prowess when tapped, however, including two games with four threes a piece. The first outburst came in a home win over the Pacers in March when Mathews dropped in 14 points on 5-for-6 (83%) shooting from the field.
In the regular season finale, Mathews posted his Hawks season-high with 19 points on 5-of-12 (42%) shooting in a road Celtics game in which most key players rested in advance of the postseason.
Still, with Bogdan Bogdanovic, AJ Griffin, and Saddiq Bey all locked in for next season — and almost assuredly beyond that in addition to the nominal starting wings — the forecast doesn’t look too rosy for Mathews’ role going forward here in Atlanta. As an older four-year veteran who will turn 27 in October, he doesn’t offer too much potential to grow into something more than the caliber of player he’s shown already.
Mathews is due $2 million this season on a non-guaranteed deal with that decision date falling on June 29th of this year. In my best estimation, the Hawks and their restocked wing department will move on from him, but with teams always looking for players of his skillset, Mathews will have a chance to sign on as a free agent elsewhere.