Well it’s finally here. It’s not quite a homecoming for Matthew Dellavedova, as this one will be played away from Quicken Loans Arena, but it will be the first time Delly faces off against the Wine & Gold. There’ll be mixed emotions. The man got paid. He worked his tail off, turned himself into a nice NBA rotation player, and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers win an NBA championship. Even if he wasn’t destined to spend his whole career in Cleveland, he’ll always remain a fan favorite.
Seeing him with a larger role on a worse team will be somewhat bittersweet. Having said that, it’s hard to feel anything but joy for a guy who many wrote after a rough summer league years ago. He’s spent hours guarding Kyrie Irving in practice over the last few years. Now we see what it looks like in real life.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (13-2) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (7-8)
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: BMO Bradley Harris Center - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV Information: Fox Sports Ohio, League Pass
So how have things been going for the Australian in Milwaukee? It’s a tiny sample size, so it’s hard to say. He’s averaging over 29 minutes a game, easily a career high. The Bucks made a decent financial commitment to the 26 year old, and the loss of Khris Middleton for the season created an opening for Dellavedova. He’s started every game, and is averaging over six assists per game.
He looks the part of being a nice fit next to the wunderkind, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo isn’t much of a shooter, but can handle just fine and has great court vision. He’s everywhere defensively. Delly’s spot-up shooting, secondary ball-handling and facilitation of ball-movement could end up being really nice for the Bucks, especially if the combo gets a lot of run against second units.
Early results aren’t quite there. Dellavedova has a true shooting rate thus far of 47.7%. His turnover percentage is at a career high. Per nba.com/stats, the Bucks are getting outscored by .8 points per 100 possessions on the season. That number jumps -3.6 points per 100 possessions when Dellavedova is on the floor.
These numbers are noisy, but he’s played a huge percentage of his minutes with Giannis thus far. Of Delly’s 437 total minutes, he’s played 358 of them with the Greek Freak. In that time, per nbawowy.com (which tabulates the numbers a bit differently from nba.com), the Bucks were outscored by four points per 100 possessions. In 163 minutes that Giannis has played without Delly, the Bucks are actually outscoring teams by 18.9 points per 100 possessions.
It’s very early in the season, and again, on paper these two seem like they should be a good fit. Dellavedova’s shooting numbers are likely to improve. There’s going to be a ton of shooting variance this early in the season, not just in terms of what the Bucks are doing but also in terms of what opponents are doing. They’ll get another chance to improve vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Delly is a champion either way.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction: The Bucks are always tough against the Cavs at home. Bucks 109, Cavs 104.
Stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.