Australian point guard, Matthew Dellavedova, has a legitimate chance to make the Cleveland Cavaliers roster this season after being invited to training camp at the beginning of August. Dellavedova impressed many scouts while playing for the Cavs summer league team and was told he would be joining the team in training camp come October.
The 6’4” guard has been working hard to make an NBA roster after going undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft. Fortunately for him, it looks like that hard work is going to pay off as the Cavs signed Dellavedova to a two-year, $1.3 million contract earlier this week. It is a partially guaranteed contract, which means that he’s still going to have to earn that third point guard spot in training camp, but it’s now his to lose.
The Aussie Olympian turned 23 last Sunday and couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. Originally from Australia, he played four years at St. Mary’s College in California and dominated the record books there. He is the all-time leader in scoring, assists, free throw percentage, games played and three-point shots. For his college career, he averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 assists, 1.1 steals and shot an impressive 86% from the line.
Dellavedova started at the point guard position for Australia at last year’s London Olympics and held his own against opposing guards. His offense, intelligence and court-vision have always been his strengths. It’s his ability on the defensive end that has been called into question and probably one of the reasons he went undrafted. After playing against some good competition at the Olympics and in Summer League this year though, he feels he held his own and there’s no doubt he puts forth the effort on both ends.
Dellavedova told the Herald Sun after Summer League:
“Cleveland is looking for a third point guard and I have a shot at it.”
Knowing very well what his critics were watching for at Summer League, he worked hard to show his defensive improvement.
“I really focused on my defence,” Dellavedova said.
“I know what the perception is about me defending quick guards. I thought I was really good defensively.”
Working with Mike Brown and an NBA-level staff throughout training camp, and his first season, will hopefully improve his defense even more. It’s evident that the effort and willingness to improve is there. Those types of players are always easier to coach. Add in Dellavedova’s high basketball IQ and he appears to be the perfect fit for that third point guard opening with the Cavs.
The fact that Dellavedova knows exactly what Brown and the Cavs want out of him and is willing to work extremely hard to provide that speaks volumes about his character. He has a “team-first” attitude, which is exactly what the Cavs need in practice and in the locker room this season. The fact that he and Kyrie Irving are both originally from Australia should only add to their chemistry.
Obviously Dellavedova won’t be seeing much time on the court this season (if he makes the final roster) unless Kyrie, Jarrett Jack or Dion Waiters get injured. Still, making an NBA roster and getting the opportunity to prove himself is all he can ask for. He has been given that opportunity and there’s no doubt in this writer’s mind that he’ll take advantage of it.
The Cavs have had a busy offseason so far and acquired some promising talent and potential. The looming addition of Dellavedova should add even more depth to the already deep roster of the Cavs.
Here’s to hoping we see him donning the Wine and Gold come October.
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