Much has been made about Matthew Dellavedova and his play in the 2015 NBA Finals. The 24-year old guard, primarily used as support off of the bench, has been called upon to play big minutes in the championship series following the game one injury to Kyrie Irving. However, despite some highlights, overall Dellavedova is where the Cavaliers are weak.
The Aussie did not play much in the opening game of the series, a game that Cleveland loset However in over nine minutes of play he had no points and just a trio of assists en route to a plus/minus of -13. He wasn’t exactly the reason why Cleveland lost the opener, in fact they almost stole it, however in very limited minutes he still posted the worst plus/minus of any player that saw court-time.
In game two the guard was forced into a starting role following the injury to Irving, one that ended his season. In that game, Dellavedova was on court for over 42 minutes and his defense was considered part of Cleveland’s success. However, on the offensive end, the guard had just nine points on 1 of 6 shooting from behind the arc. Furthermore, Dellavedova had just one assist on the night – a piddly total for his position and for the number of minutes he logged. However Cleveland claimed game two, a result that silenced the Cavs’ critics for the time being and, in a twist of fate, Dellavedova had clutch free throws in the effort.
Game three of the NBA Finals promises to be a career highlight for Dellavedova. The guard had 20 points in the game, well above his career average, and he helped curb Stephen Curry‘s offense for the first three periods which put Golden State in a desperate fourth quarter situation. Additional, much like game two, Dellavedova made a key play late that was instrumental in giving his side victory.
However in game four we saw the Aussie come back down to Earth. Dellavedova went just 3 for 14 shooting overall, including a terrible 2 for 9 from three-point land. He had a team-high three turnovers and scored just ten points.
Furthermore, if you go by the old eye-ball test, in game four Dellavedova often looked like he didn’t belong on the court. His efforts to drive to the rim and then to lob to a post player were not only ineffective but they were perplexing. A lot of his three pointers missed the mark by a lot and he didn’t help out on the boards either.
Dellavedova has shown tremendous heart in the 2015 NBA Finals. Following severe cramping after game three, the Cavs’ guard must have been playing through pain in game four.
But despite my criticisms I think that the Aussie will likely bounce back in game five as he is the player that will benefit the most from the extra day off. I do think he should probably take less shots, especially three pointers, and instead focus on getting the other players the ball. I think the 20 point output in game three was an anamoly and that Dellavedova isn’t capable of that type of production night-in/night-out.
The Cavs need an offense that runs through Lebron James and Timofey Mozgov nearly every time down the floor. Dellavedova needs to relegate himself to a role player that chases down loose balls and punishes defensive sags or contributes when a planned offense breaks down. At this point in his career, I don’t think he should be taking fourteen shots in a game but if he got half as many assists then Cleveland would have a good chance to win.