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Straight to the Point

Matthew Dellavedova is Primed for Another Postseason Run
Matthew Dellavedova
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

Some athlete and celebrity product endorsements are total head-scratchers. But some make total sense. And if ever there was a player who illustrated the pick-me-up power of a good, strong cup o’ joe, it’s the Wine and Gold’s backup point guard.

In case you couldn’t tell from watching his frenetic playing style, Matthew Dellavedova is a coffee-drinker. But he’s not the type to sit around sipping a cup over the morning paper. Delly loads up before the game and again at halftime.

Just recently, the third-year guard – in conjunction with the Cleveland Coffee Company – lent his name and image to his own brand, appropriately called “G’Day Mate.” The morning blend is currently on the shelves of 40 retail locations, including A.J. Rocco’s – owned by local businessman, Brendan Walton, who also runs the Cleveland Coffee Company.

“The Cleveland Coffee Company is just five minutes from downtown and one day (my girlfriend) and I went there and Brendan showed us around,” recalls Dellavedova. “We tried a heap of different coffees and ended up deciding on one after taking some home and trying some more. I’m pretty happy with it – smells great, tastes great.”

"It was really cool. And everybody back home in Maryborough and Australia was watching. Hopefully, we can make it an annual thing because it was very cool for me."

Matthew Dellavedova discusses the Cavs Australia Day Celebration.

Delly stops short at calling himself a coffee expert. But after his experience at the Cleveland Coffee Co., is comfortable with “aficionado.”

“Brendan explained a lot of things I never knew about coffee and what goes into roasting it – where he gets his beans from and things like that. It’s a really interesting process if you drink coffee; to know the journey it takes before it gets into your mug.”

Undrafted out of St. Mary’s in 2012, he went into last year’s playoffs as an All-Star’s scrappy backup and came out of them as a household name. And on a high-profile squad like Cleveland’s, Delly’s days of flying under the radar – where he’s actually most comfortable – are probably well behind him.

On the floor, Delly’s been rock-solid all season. He’s nearly doubled his point production from a year ago and his numbers are up across the board. At .434, he’s the 5th-leading three-point marksman in the NBA. At 2.98, he ranks 9th in assist-to-turnover ratio. And his +/- number of +281 is third on the Cavaliers behind only LeBron James and Kevin Love and good for 26th in the Association.

But it’s not statistics that put Delly on the map. It’s his style of play: a subtle blend of hoops, rugby and Australian Rules Football – no milk, no sugar.

And in terms of not flying under the radar, the soft-spoken guard from Down Under found himself at the focal point of this year’s Australia Day celebration at The Q. Delly took full advantage of his night in the spotlight, and with family and friends watching 16 hours ahead from the southern hemisphere, he came off the bench to finish with 18 points and seven assists – going 4-of-8 from long-distance in a 114-107 win over the T-Wolves.

“It was awesome – I’ve been to a couple signings lately and people bring up the Australia Day – the little poster they got or the t-shirt,” beamed Dellavedova. “It was a huge honor to hear the anthem played before the game. It was really cool. And everybody back home in Maryborough and Australia was watching. Hopefully, we can make it an annual thing because it was very cool for me.”

It didn’t hurt that Delly had his second-highest scoring game of the season with his hometown watching.

”If they’re doing something like that you want to make sure you have a good game because you don’t want it to be a distraction, although the most important thing is that we win the game. I wouldn’t say I gave extra because I always try to leave it all out there. But I definitely had that date circled on my calendar.”

After missing five games before the All-Star Break with a sore left hamstring, the former Gael has rejoined the rotation. And one player who’s benefited from his return is Tristan Thompson, who he seems to have an intrinsic connection with on the floor.

“I like playing with (Timofey Mozgov) as well, but with Tristan, this is our third year together now, and we actually played against each other in Under-19, so we’ve known each other for a long time,” said Delly. “We just have always had a good chemistry on the court.”

Tristan and Delly have worked the lob-alley-oop-teardrop play with success all season – and they re-kindled it on Monday night, with Thompson moving back into the second unit, a move Tyronn Lue made in part because of how well those two work together.

”At the start, it just kind of happened with the lobs, and (Thompson and I) have talked about it more and more,” Delly admits. “He sets great screens and rolls hard and I try to get him the ball whenever I can because he does a lot of the dirty work and the grunt work for this team – and it’s good to see him rewarded for that hard work. So I’m happy to have him back on the bench mob.”

That lob pass isn’t something new to Dellavedova. It actually goes back to his days on the Australian national team.

”I first kind of worked on it in 2011, when we were playing internationally with the Boomers with (Aron) Baynes and myself. And then I didn’t kind of get it as much in college because there’s not as much spacing and there’s no illegal defense and the three-point line is smaller. In the NBA, there’s a lot more room and obviously a lot of athleticism – like Tristan and Moz – and shooters spacing it around.”

"It’s the point guard’s job to make sure the team is running smoothly, and you have to do whatever the team needs to be successful."

Delly admits that his role hasn’t changed much under Tyronn Lue. But he does enjoy working with a former NBA point guard as his head coach. He’s even thought about roaming the sidelines himself once his playing days are over.

”I don’t think I’d like to coach in the NBA, but I’d definitely like to coach in some way,” said Delly, explaining why former point guards make good coaches. “The point guard has to be the connection between the coach and the team on the floor. It’s the point guard’s job to make sure the team is running smoothly, and you have to do whatever the team needs to be successful. You’re not just thinking about what you have to do to help the team, you’re thinking about how can I help Tristan get going or Moz? J.R. just hit his last shot – what can we run to get him another look?

”I can’t speak to other positions because all I’ve ever played is point guard, so that’s how I’ve always thought and that’s how I’ve been taught to think.”

Of course, that day is a long way away. For now, with less than a month-and-a-half remaining in the regular season, Dellavedova feels like the squad is starting to take shape for another run at the Finals – but with a lot of work to do between now and then.

”We know there’s things we have to improve on; there are 23 games to go right now and that’s a long time to get better,” concluded Delly. “There’s a lot of time between now and the playoffs, so you can improve a lot, you can stay the same or you can get worse. We want to make sure we’re in the group of teams getting better and pushing forward.”

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Delly Piece - March 3, 2016

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