MATTHEW Dellavedova has had a taste of NBA basketball and shown he is up to the task.
The 23-year-old Maryborough export made his NBA preseason debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first official hit out, helping the team to a 99-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
Dellavedova had to wait until the final quarter to get a run with Cavs coach Mike Brown clearly focused on rotating his leading guards Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters through the opening three quarters.
But when called upon with 10:16 left in the match Dellavedova looked poised and mentally ready to enter the game.
He took the first couple of minutes to get into the flow of the game giving up a foul to stop a Bucks big man from getting a layup.
Delly was also unlucky to not pick up a couple of assists as his leading pass put fellow rookie Carrick Felix into an open layup, but Felix was fouled and couldn’t convert, while big man Kenny Kadji made a similar play from a Delly pass.
With four minutes to go Dellavedova drew a foul and went to the free throw line, calmly making both shots, adding two points to his two rebounds and one turnover.
The coaches won’t use the stats to judge Dellavedova, they will go back to the game film and see how he ran the team’s offence and marshaled his players during huddles and dead-balls.
They will like what they saw, especially as Delly took charge as soon as he entered the court and was visibly pointing players to position and running pick and rolls with comfort.
On defence he also looked comfortable, but in this area he will continue to be challenged due to the misconception about his ability to defend fast guards.
Brown took Dellavedova out of the game with a couple of minutes left to allow another player, Jermaine Taylor, to get some court time.
Dellavedova has made a good start to the preseason and done little harm to his chances of earning a roster spot with the Cavaliers. He also drew some kind words from the Cavs’ TV announcers, who knew he had played in the London Olympics and for St Mary’s college.
Just as importantly former Portland point guard Elliot Williams didn’t overly impress during a short stint in the final two minutes. Williams is Dellavedova’s direct competition for the third point guard position.
The Cavs have seven preseason games to play in the next 15 days, leaving Dellavedova more time to secure his spot, but he has made a good start, which is really all he could ask from this match.