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Rockets 2022-2023 player previews: Garrison Mathews

Mathews will have a different role this year. What can we expect?

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Houston Rockets Media Day Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Hey do you remember when this random 6’5” white man came bursting onto the scene? I remember it like it was yesterday.

Garrison Mathews’ heroics allowed the Houston Rockets to rebound from a 15-game losing streak to a seven-game winning streak, something that no team in the history of American professinal sports has been done before.

Mathews was a flamethrower during that span, from November 24th to December 10th. Garrison put up 17 points on 52 percent shooting from the field while converting 46 percent from deep.

The game that truly put him on the map was his three-point blitzkrieg against the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he made five threes and finished with 19 points on 50/46 shooting splits and no free throw attempts.

The game inspired Twitter User @the6foot5 to don him a name fitting of the times ’Garry Bird’.

As absurd the nickname is or was, it just stuck. The vibes were just immaculate! The borderline blasphemous crude picture of a guy who contemplated being a cop if his NBA career didn’t workout on top of Larry Bird was just peak comedy.

It was what the doctor ordered, the fandom needed this after Jalen Green had rough start with injuries and inconsistent play, and thats just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t get fans started about the baffling coaching, or rotations up to that point.

Being able to witness a potential underdog story was refreshing, you couldn’t help to think that Rafael Stone found another diamond in the rough who could become a foundational piece.

However, all good things must come down. Like the tale of Cinderella, the clock struck 12:00 midnight, and the carriage turned into a pumpkin. Post All Star break ’Garry Bird’ played like a mortal, putting up nasty shooting splits of 37/34/76.

It didn’t help when you add the fact Mathews’ defense is suspect at best. It can be a rough sight to see. Last season, opponents shot 50 percent against him as a primary defender.

So what happened to Garrison ‘Garry Bird’ Mathews? What can we expect from him this 2022-2023 NBA season?

Long story short, he became one of the primary focuses on the team. He was no longer a two-way contract guy that opposing team scouts ignored. As result, his opportunities became more and more difficult.

The numbers reflect this last season. Garrison Matthews converted 64 percent of his field goals when defenders left him six feet or more and 66 percent when left between four and six feet open. However, the tighter the defense was on him, his number shrank to 36 percent.

On the bright side, Garrison may not be a great defender, but at least he’s an active one. His knack to invoke the Pokemon Magikarp and flop is just frankly, highly effective! Look at the evidence here:

He is third in total charges drawn at 25. Also, he averages a healthy amount of deflections at 1.4 a game. So he’s not a lost cause on that end.

So what can we expect from him this coming season? I wouldn’t exactly say more of the same, but he’ll definitely have a more streamlined role. It’s safe to say he should more efficient as a the team has had full season to grow together.

He won’t start, but he’ll most likely be in the back end of of the rotation. which is fine for him. He’ll able settle in a role to run off screens and make back door cuts to score easily.

There’s just no doubt in my mind that a 37 percent catch-and-shoot player won’t thrive in lineups that feature Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Jabari Smith and Alperen Sengun.