Matthew Dellavedova might not be getting ahead of himself when he says he’s on the verge of officially making an NBA roster.
“I’m expecting to try to make the team,” Dellavedova said of his current stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in an interview with The News-Herald. “That’s what I’m here to do.”
The Australian went undrafted earlier this off-season, but impressed the Cavs and coach Mike Brown during a pre-draft workout. He then signed a two-year, partially guaranteed $1.3 million contract with a chance to make the Cavs final roster depending upon his training camp performance. By all accounts the 23-year-old has been nothing short of impressive.
“If I were to bet, I’d bet half my salary that I’d get a dunk before he does, and I’m not even playing anymore,” coach Brown said. “He’s a non-athlete, but he gets everything out of his body you could hope or ask for. That’s all you want.”
Brown said Dellavedova’s showed something special during his pre-draft workout and has continued his development since.
“He elevated that workout. Was he the most talented? No, he wasn’t the most talented guy. The leadership and intangible stuff, that’s hard to find. He’s an intelligent player. All the things you need to have a championship-level ball club, he brings to the table.”
Dellavedova began making waves with his play at St Mary’s and for the Australian Boomers during the 2012 Olympics, but despite his good size (6-foot-4, 1.93m) and proficient shooting, his lack of athleticism meant NBA teams opted not to select the Victorian native during the 60-pick draft.
“The international style is definitely a step up from college. They are men, so there’s a physical style. It’s helped my development.”
“(Being a floor leader is) definitely my strength, and knowing when to make the right play,” he said. “I scored a bit in college. I can shoot the 3. I can shoot a floater in the lane.”
If Dellavedova is to make the Cavs’ roster next season, game time will be hard to come by. The Cavs already have another ‘Aussie’ on the roster in All-Star Kyrie Irving and a newly signed and capable replacement in Jarrett Jack. Regardless, Dellavedova looks to have almost certainly carved out a spot in the league and if it all somehow goes south, a lucrative career in Europe likely awaits.
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Christian Petersen, Getty Images.