Matthew Dellavedova: The True Point Guard
I remember watching Matthew Dellavedova play for St. Mary’s in the NCAA Tournament. He didn’t seem extremely quick or athletic then, and still doesn’t now. That said, Dellavedova knows how to play point guard better than anyone I’ve seen at the Summer League.
On both sides of the ball, Dellavedova shows that there’s still room for the blue collar, fundamental basketball player in the NBA. In his first game of the Summer League against Milwaukee, he finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Those don’t even tell the whole story. Dellavedova didn’t take a single possession off on defense, always annoying opposing players with active hands.
There’s one play that I distinctly remember that made me appreciate the type of defensive player that he is. After a Cavaliers turnover, Milwaukee had a 2-on-1 the other way led by the skilled Jabari Parker. The 6’8 Forward took the ball straight to the hoop and Dellavedova was not only able to get both hands on the ball and strip Parker, but he quickly started a Cavs fastbreak that led to a bucket on the other end. Little things like that make Dellavedova the complete player that he is.
In the Cavs’ second Summer League game, he finished with only 3 points but dished out 7 assists and continued to orchestrate the game the way he normally does. After every foul call, Dellavedova would gather the team in a huddle, and assuredly was team leader in high-fives delivered. Will Cherry went off for 21 points in the Cavs’ second straight Summer League win, and credited a lot of that to Dellavedova. “A year is a hell of a lot of experience in the NBA,” he said. “Matthew helps a lot. We were joking on the bench that he’s such a point guard- he explains the plays that we’re about to run down to a T to you. There’s times when I’m running the 2 and I look at Matt and he automatically tells me where to go.”
That type of leadership by Dellavedova is something that does’nt appear in the box score but is so important to winning basketball games. The Cavaliers have showed a lot of fluidity in their offense under new coach David Blatt and Dellavedova knows how to run the show. Cherry also noted that Dellavedova’s leadership goes beyond just game situations. “Especially in practice, he’s helping me with the little things that I should do at the point guard position,” he said. “His year experience is 10 years of experience on me, so I just soak it in.”
Be on the lookout for Dellavedova this season. It may be the first time you’ve seen his name, and he may not play a ton of minutes, but his basketball IQ is extremely high and his ability to knock down threes is always crucial on teams with LeBron James.