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Delly's Second Act

Matthew Dellavedova Focuses On a New Role in His Reunion Tour with the Wine & Gold
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

Second Act

Matthew Dellavedova Focuses on a New Role in His Reunion Tour with the Wine & Gold

The Cavaliers will celebrate their 50th year as a franchise next season and discussions are already underway about which players and moments over the history of the team will be honored.

The conversations don’t just include high-profile players like Austin Carr, Zydrunas Ilguaskas and LeBron James. They’ve also included guys that didn’t put up monster numbers or double-digit seasons – guys like Boobie Gibson, Jimmy Cleamons and, yes, Matthew Dellavedova.

Delly will always have a place in Cavs history. That was affirmed by the huge ovation he received from fans at The Q on December 12 – the Aussie’s new debut with his old club, a win over the Knicks. (And pretty much every home game since.)

In his sixth year in the league, and second tour of duty with the Wine & Gold, the former World Champ is in a vastly different role with a vastly different team. No longer the scrappy overachiever whose contributions were considered gravy, Dellavedova is now a grizzled veteran and mentor whose every contribution is greatly needed by a shorthanded young squad.

Delly has notched double-figure scoring in exactly half of his 14 appearances since returning to Cleveland, including a season-high 17-point effort on Wednesday night in the Big Easy. He’s shooting just under 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three-point range, leading the team in assists on four occasions.

As the Cavaliers got back in the gym over the weekend on the campus of UCLA, preparing for Sunday night’s meeting with the Lakers, sat down with the local folk hero and backup point guard to talk about his new role, what the Wine & Gold need to work on in the second half and coffee …

Dellavedova has tallied double-figure scoring in half of his appearances with Cleveland this year.
Photo by Chris Graythen/NBAE via Getty Images

In your second stint with the Cavs, how do you think you’re different this time around?

Matthew Dellavedova: Even though I was a rookie, or at least early in my career, I still felt like I was kind of experienced because of playing four years in college, playing internationally with the Olympics and stuff like that.

But I guess just seeing so much more of the NBA and being in different situations (with Milwaukee). And I'm just trying to be a bit more vocal. But I feel like, as a point guard, I've always been pretty vocal.

I'd like to think I'm the same person, but I've grown in the past few years, because you always want to be getting better.

So, I've been working on my threes and shooting off the dribble the last few years. But just continuing to work on passing and some different finishes – some floaters and things like that.

Part of your new role has been to help mentor rookie Collin Sexton. How’s that been?

Dellavedova: It's a role I've never had in the NBA, being a mentor.

I’m just trying to talk with him about what I'm seeing out there, what he's seeing out there – and just talk through the game. We've watched quite a bit of game-tape together.

But he works extremely hard on the court and in the weight room. So, as long as he keeps doing that, he's going to have a really good chance.

"I wasn't expecting that reception when I came back. But I really appreciate it and it makes me and my family feel really welcome."

Matthew Dellavedova on the reception upon his return

Who helped you out as a youngster your first time around in Cleveland?

Dellavedova: Andy Varejao – he's always been my guy ever since I first got to Cleveland.

He would take me out for dinners on the road and, you know, just things like that always. He was great to me and still is. I still keep in touch with him. He was an unbelievable friend and teammate.

So, Andy -- and then on the coaching side, I've worked with (assistant coach) Mike Gerrity every day.

And back then, Mike Brown, we watched a ton of tape and we went a lot of defensive stuff. And just the level of detail and watching that much game-tape really gave me a really good understanding of defense in the NBA, because it is a lot different than anything you’d seen.

What did you miss about Cleveland?

Dellavedova: The food, obviously. And the coffee – with the Cleveland Coffee Company and AJ Rocco’s. Restore, obviously. I was back to Lucky's Cafe the other day. Momocho. So, obviously the food.

But especially the people. The people in Cleveland are special. I've got a lot of special memories here.

It's good to be back. I wasn't expecting that reception when I came back. But I really appreciate it and it makes me and my family feel really welcome.

What do you want to see from this team in the second half of the season?

Dellavedova: Just a lot of growth and improvement. And I think you need to take one positive thing from each day, whether it's a practice or a gameday – something – that you can improve on, individually or as a team.

As long as we're focused on growth and improvement, I think we'll be more successful in the second half.

It's all about trying to get better.


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