Matthew Dellavedova has had a long, winding road to the NBA. Born in Australia, Dellavedova started playing basketball at the age of four and has been in love with the game ever since. Dellavedova went on to play college basketball at Saint Mary’s College in California and had one of the greatest careers in the history of the program. He is the all time leader in scoring, assists, games played, free throw percentage, and three point shots and was named three times to the All West Coast Conference team. Dellavedova put his skills to good use and gained the attention of the Cleveland Cavaliers where he has spent the first three years of his young NBA career. In this past season Dellavedova was a good spark plug off the bench for the NBA Champion Cavaliers. It’s been speculated for a few months now that the Bucks would be interested in Matthew Dellavedova this summer. That was confirmed when Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that Milwaukee had multiple scouts, including Jason Kidd watching Dellavedova at the NBA Finals.
Dellavedova is a defensive player first and foremost, but his three point shooting paired with good defense is what makes him such a valuable player off the bench. Dellavedova has always been a scrappy, in your face defender that won’t back down to any player. Typically guarding the opponent’s backcourt, Dellavedova has been able to slow down a lot of the league’s top guards with physical play. Not being afraid to get under the skin of opposing players has given Dellavedova a bit of a dirty reputation around the league, but he’s a guy any coach would want on their team. While his offensive numbers aren’t eye popping, Dellavedova is a decent offensive player with the ability to move the ball well, and spread the floor with his three-point shooting. In 2015-2016, Dellavedova averaged 7.5 points per game on 41% shooting from three, and 4.4 assists per game. With Dellavedova on the court and, LeBron James on the bench Delly had a true shooting percentage of 42.6% and made 88% of his jump shots. While when the Cavs got on offensive rebound, Dellavedova shot 50% on those second chance buckets. Those stats show that he doesn’t need to rely on a superstar in order to get, and make his shots. While the usage rating was only 18% for Dellavedova, these numbers are still fairly good. Compared to other guards he is fairly efficient with the ball as he averaged only 1.5 turnovers per game and generated 785 points from assists this past season. Coming off the bench he knows what his role is and is able to stay in that role and have a good impact on the court.
As good as Dellavedova can be when he is playing well, when he finds himself struggling Dellavedova can hurt the offensive flow on the court. This was the case for most of the 2016 playoffs. Dellavedova averaged just 3.9 points per game while shooting 25% from three in the Cavs playoff run. This let opponents play off of Dellavedova and help on the ball, or drop down low to take away any threat of a post game from Cleveland. Unfortunately this is the case a lot for Dellavedova as his consistency is just not there enough. That causes teams to bury him within the bench for the most part because of the offensive liability. Rebounding is also an area of weakness for Dellavedova. He only averaged 2.1 rebounds per game in 15/16 and wasn’t really a force to be reckoned with when it came to getting down low and working the glass.
Fit in Milwaukee
All things considered, Matthew Dellavedova would be a good player for Jason Kidd to add to his rotation this upcoming season. Adding a 3-and D guy is exactly what Milwaukee needs coming off the bench after an ugly season in both areas last season. On the defensive end Milwaukee struggled heavily defending backcourts and asserting a defensive attitude early in the game. Dellavedova would bring toughness and effort on defense to the Bucks which was not seen at all in most games last season. Putting a better defender on the guards will help the frontcourt do their jobs in defending the post and crashing the defensive boards. With Thon Maker joining that frontcourt this season, Milwaukee won’t want to put Maker in positions with a lot of defensive pressure on him where teams will be able to expose him due to his thin frame, and inexperience defending NBA offenses. Three-point shooting is also an area where the Bucks struggled heavily last season. Dellavedova being a good spot-up shooter would be able to spread the floor and give Giannis, and Jabari more room to work down low and be able to drive to the basket. With Giannis running the point on offense this upcoming season, he will be getting double teamed a lot and have to find someone on the wing to kick the ball out too. Dellavedova can fill that role well, and has been playing in that position for the last two seasons with LeBron James. While Dellavedova does struggle at times maintaining his offensive presence, he was able to shoot the ball at a decent rate in the regular season last year and gave LeBron James, and Kevin Love a few more feet of working area than they typically would have had. Mainly coming off the bench, with an occasional start Dellavedova can add a lot of championship leadership to the Bucks.
The Bucks signing Dellavedova seems to be something that has a high chance of happening with their high interest in the Australian guard during the 2016 Finals. He is expected to have a few offers from other teams around the league but the Bucks will likely offer Dellavedova around 10-12 million a year for 2 years with a 3rd year player option. This will probably be the best offer that Dellavedova will get this summer although, Dellavedova is a restricted free agent. So any offer he receives, Cleveland will have the opportunity to match and retain his rights. But don’t be surprised if Milwaukee comes into the season with Delly replacing Jerryd Bayless in his role as the back-up point guard to help this team try to return to the playoffs after missing out on the tournament last season.