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Matthew Dellavedova: A Love Song

Apr 9, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) dribbles against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 122-100. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The above occurred during a game in which the 2014 number 1 and 2 draft picks went head to head, while the 2013 #1 overall and the player likely to be drafted #1 overall if that class was redrafted also appeared. And, he’s not wrong.

Matthew Dellavedova was impressive enough that I’m quite sure he’s a backup NBA point guard. While this may sound like faint praise, I assure you, that’s about the highest compliment I can give an non-lottery talent at Summer League. He was legitimately a solid, in control, relatively mistake-free, which already puts him in the 85th percentile of summer league guard play. Rough estimation would suggest that about 3 in 4 of the frequent illegal screen fouls and countless other botched, shot clock-killing plays are caused by guards being in too big a hurry to show off their speed and ability to penetrate. Delly doesn’t do, er, that.

Instead he probes, he keeps his dribble alive. He has a way of contorting his body to look as if he’s driving pell-mell to the lane while actually bouncing in place.  The effect is that he doesn’t dribble himself into trouble. Even though he isn’t actually going anywhere he looks dangerous to the point where he’s holding defensive attention for an extra half-second, just enough time to fire a skip pass over the middle to an open shooter.

When he does drive, it’s in still in control. He knows he’s not going to contort his body and finish over 2 help defenders for an and-one. He’s looking to see whose man he can draw, or what pocket of space he can find to loft up a soft floater.

He’s authoritative when demanding the ball on outlet passes and always in a spot where the rebounder has a clear line of site and uncontested pass. He runs the break well, willing to both throw the spectacular lob to Andrew Wiggins or to stare at that option for so long Andrew Bennett has an open dunk as the trail man filling the lane.

His shooting…well, I did mention he’s a genuine backup point guard right?

Seth Partnow

Seth Partnow lives in Anchorage, Alaska. He writes about basketball at places like Washington Post's #FancyStats Blog, TrueHoop Network's ClipperBlog and his own website Where Offense Happens. Follow him @SethPartnow and sethpartnow.tumblr.com