Matthew Dellavedova began his pre-game routine early at Barclays Center on Wednesday night. It wasn’t because the team had just been embarrassed by the Golden State Warriors at home just two nights earlier. It’s just the norm for the Cavs’ backup point guard – get to the office early and put in that work.
There was Delly working on his shot; shots from distance; from the foul line, and more noticeably, working on getting his shot off while one of the Cavs’ assistant coaches had a hand in his face.
It’s this dedication to his craft that has allowed Dellavedova to put up career numbers so far in 2015-16.
“I think it’s a bit of both,” Delly says of whether his improvement comes from practicing or an extra comfort level on an NBA court. “You always want to be shooting the ball with confidence and letting it fly, but I also put in that time in the off-season and the preseason working with the coaches, and having one of them contest [so] you get used to having someone flying at you and all you see is the rim.
Dellavedova is taking more shots than ever before in his three seasons in the NBA, and making them at a higher clip (43 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from distance), and has also assisted on 27 percent of his team’s made baskets, including developing a special synergy with fellow reserve Tristan Thompson on pick-and-rolls.
“Tristan and I have great chemistry and this is our third season playing together, so you know a lot can be communicated with either a nod of the head or a look or something like that,” Delly told believethehypenba.com recently.
“He’s a great dynamic roller and he puts a lot of pressure on the person guarding the on-ball screen because they’re worried about him rolling and then also bringing other people from the perimeter in to try and tag him when he rolls.
“He’s a great target to throw lobs to because he’ll pretty much catch anything, so he definitely opens up the lane for me to shoot a floater and also our three-point shooters to get open looks as well.”
Image: Eric Gay/AP
Dellavedova’s on-court improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed by LeBron James, who was already a huge Delly fan to begin with.
“He puts in the work,” James said following the Cavs’ 91-78 win over the Nets in Brooklyn. “He just puts in so much work when the cameras aren’t around, and it’s a by-product of him playing well. Coach gives him a lot of leeway to run our second unit, and he’s doing a great job of doing that and not making many mistakes. He’s a good piece for our team.”
“I just try to bring a lot of energy, kick up the defensive intensity, get the ball moving,” Dellavedova says about playing with the second unit. “We’ve had a lot of different lineups so far, so we’re still getting used to it but I think we’ll get there eventually.”
In the meantime, Dellavedova is gearing up for the Cavaliers’ Australia Day game in Cleveland on January 26th. The game will pay tribute to Delly’s Australian heritage.
“It’s gonna be a great day. It’s an awesome idea by the Cavs to make it happen, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he says.
Feature Image: Tony Dejak/AP