Matthew Dellavedova’s path to the NBA has been a long one. In 2013, after four years of service with Division I St Mary’s College of California, where he leads the Fighting Gaels in all-time scoring, Dellavedova went undrafted.
A lot of NBA critics thought the 6′-4″ point guard from Australia may not have what it takes to play in the association, but not Dellavedova.
Despite his undrafted status, Dellavedova was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers and given a spot on their 2013 NBA Summer League team. After impressing Cleveland’s executives and coaching staff with his gritty play-style and hard work ethic, Dellavedova was given a back-up point guard role on the 15 man roster. Former Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown dubbed Dellavedova: “The Pit Bull.”
“Delly”, as he was affectionately known amongst Cavs fans, went on to play two more seasons with Cleveland, where he played a vital role in their back-to-back NBA Finals appearances – winning it in 2016 against the Golden State Warriors in epic comeback fashion (down three games to one).
In July of 2016, Dellavedova was aquired by the Milwaukee Bucks in a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavs. Dellavedova has played well in his starting role with Milwaukee thus far, averaging 7.9 points, a career-high 6.3 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game through their first 15 outings of the season.
Tonight, the Cavaliers will face Delly for the first time since he signed with the Bucks. In an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dellavedova explained his excitement for the reunion with his former teammates, saying:
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I’m looking forward to catching up with them and seeing them. Obviously you develop strong relationships and friendships with not only the players, but the coaches and training staff.”
As a member of the Cavaliers, Delly endeared himself as a fan favorite. Tonight, his merit will be tested against the defending NBA champs.