THIS time 12 months ago Matthew Dellavedova was working his backside off to earn a NBA contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Most so-called NBA experts didn’t expect Dellavedova to make the grade.
Right now, Dellavedova has had the second year of his contract with the Cavaliers guaranteed, he is the Cavs’ back-up point guard behind Kyrie Irving and will play alongside a guy by the name of LeBron James.
It would be hard for anyone in Dellavedova’s shoes not to feel excited about the upcoming NBA season.
One of the reasons why Dellavedova has proved the “experts” wrong is that he doesn’t get ahead of himself.
The Cavaliers might be rated as NBA championship favourites, but all Dellavedova is concerned about right now is leading the Australian Boomers to a medal at the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The Maryborough native was named in the Boomers’ 12-man squad for the World Cup on Monday.
“As soon as Summer League finished with the Cavs all my focus went to the Boomers,’’ Dellavedova said from the Boomers camp in Canberra on Monday.
“Once the World Cup with the Boomers is done I’ll turn my attention back to the NBA.
“Whatever is in front of me at the time is what I focus on. I can’t afford to get caught up in all the other stuff.”
Dellavedova is yet to meet James one-on-one. His only encounter with him was the Cavs’ clashes with Miami last season.
“Everyone in Cleveland is very excited about LeBron coming back,’’ Dellavedova said.
“When he made his decision it was on all the different news channels for a week.
“It’s going to be an exciting season for Cavs fans.”
Dellavedova will spend Cavs’ training camp going head-to-head with Irving and James.
“My goal is to get that back-up point guard role, so I want to do a good job at training camp and in the pre-season to earn that role,’’ he said.
“Last season I spent a lot of time defending Kyrie in practice and you have to try and raise your game playing against players of his quality each day.
“That experience really helped my defence.”
Dellavedova has spent the past week at Boomers’ training camp working alongside Utah Jazz rookie Dante Exum.
With Patty Mills sidelined through injury, Dellavedova and Exum will form the Boomers’ starting backcourt in Spain.
“Dante and I practiced together last year at the New Zealand series, but this Boomers’ camp is the most time we’ve played together,’’ he said.
“We should combine pretty well. I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
Despite the absence of Mills and Andrew Bogut, the Boomers are expecting big things in Spain.
San Antonio Spurs forward Aron Baynes and Chicago Bulls rookie Cameron Bairstow add some more NBA talent to the squad, while Europe-based Joe Ingles, Brad Newley, Nathan Jawai and David Andersen help form the core of the squad.
“We’ve built a really good base,’’ Dellavedova said.
“It’s not just the NBA guys. The guys who played in Europe and in the NBL are all coming off good seasons.
“The guys get on really well together and we’re looking forward to getting to Spain.”
The Boomers head to Lithuania next week for warm-up games against Lithuania, Finland and Ukraine.
They’ll also play in Finland and France before heading to Spain for the World Cup which starts on August 31.
Based in the Canary Island city of Gran Canaria, the Boomers will play Slovenia, Angola, Korea, Lithuania and Mexico in their preliminary round matches.