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Prospect Breakdown: Charles Matthews

Elite wing defender and leader with a questionable jumper

Florida State v Michigan Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

My primary sports love was and always will be the University of Michigan. Therefore, the 48 hours of Kawhi Leonard tearing my heart out and then John Beilein very politely putting my excised heart into a woodchipper (with great class) was rough. However, as a tough internet sports guy, I had to write these breakdowns. Keep in mind that my basketball knowledge is 100% limited to watching a bunch of it on TV and hoisting jumpers in empty gyms. My first and only organized basketball game I believe occurred at a summer camp in middle school. I don’t like “rating” players that I have been a fan of, so I truly hope all three of these guys stuff my stupid nerd words in my face and become megastars.

Charles Matthews

Florida State v Michigan Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Charles Matthews is a 6’ 6” (6’ 9” wingspan) 205lb wing from Chicago. He’s a senior after spending his first year at Kentucky and subsequently transferring. He’s an elite athlete, probably the best wing defender in the draft, and has an occasionally wonky offensive game. Matthews is currently projected to go in the second round or undrafted.


  • Elite elite defender. Seriously. He uses his athleticism and length very well and simply does not foul. If you want to draft Matthews, this is the reason why. As an example, Romeo Langford has been talked about as a top-ten pick, and Matthews simply erased him both games this year. I have zero doubts about his ability to be a plus NBA wing defender at multiple positions.
  • It’s on the feelingsball side, but Matthews is an adult. He’s a leader and without question somebody that will not have trouble integrating into a team structure. He’s slightly on the older side at 22, but this falls in line with being mature physically and emotionally. Also, he’s a calm player, not someone that will be all over the place.
  • Cutting. Matthews is a strong off ball cutter, and uses his huge vertical to finish well at the rim.


  • Jump shot. He went 64/208 from three at Michigan for 30.8%. Not great.
  • Handle/self creation. Matthews often dribbled himself into short midrange fadeaways instead of getting all the way to the rack. Part of this was that he was often the bail-out option for the offense, as his fadeaway was unblockable in college and a shot that could be had with two seconds left on the shot clock.

NBA Offensive Style Comparisons

These comparisons are based off a complex spatial similarity score. They are meant to show who the player plays like — not what they project to be.

  1. Brandon Ingram
  2. Rudy Gay
  3. Jeremy Lamb
  4. Jonathon Simmons
  5. Nikola Jokic (?)

Outcome Probability

Figure 1: Charles Matthews outcome probability estimates



Figure 2: Matthews was the midrange “do it yourself” guy for the Michigan offense


Honors (via

Finished U-M career with a 63-15 record in two active playing seasons; 89-27 in U-M career

All-Big Ten, honorable mention (2019)

Preseason All-Big Ten team (2019)

Academic All-Big Ten (2018, ‘19)

Michigan Academic Achievement (2018, ‘19)

NCAA West Regional Most Outstanding Player (2018)

NCAA All-West Regional (2018)

Michigan Captain (2019), along with Zavier Simpson

Finalist for Naismith Julius Erving Award (Top Small Forward, 2019)

U-M’s Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player (2019)

U-M’s Thad Garner Leadership Award (2019)

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