The People Vs. Matthew Dellavedova


I want you all to know I root for Cleveland Cavaliers back up point guard Matthew Dellavedova. I root hard for him.

I am a proud member of “Team Delly”.

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As a proud member I’m seeing the world of sports can be harsh. In fact, sometimes it can be downright mean. I didn’t realize how much it was until I got a chance to dabble in the world of of sports through social media. Recently I have been perusing Twitter, trying to integrate myself into the Cleveland Cavalier community.

My first experience in the Cavs twitterverse came during the February 26th 110-99 win against the Golden State Warriors. This was a landmark win, or a “golden state-ment” of sorts for the Cavaliers.

As I expected,  I read many positive comments praising the “Wine and Gold” for their outstanding performance. There were several retweets of important stats of how LeBron James out-shined fellow superstar Stephen Curry. There were a few about the great pick ups in early January (J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov). Most proclaimed the Cavs as the NBA’s very best squad.

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  • Typical “prisoner of the moment” fandom.

    But as I continued to navigate deeper and deeper into the comments I noticed comments that were alarming . These weren’t so positive. They all had a common denominator. All of these tweets involved Dellavedova. I kept reading tweets referring to him as “delly trash”. I swear this phrase could have been trending worldwide if  someone had just attached a hashtag to it.

    To see for yourself do a twitter search of Matthew Dellavedova, Delly or Delly-trash to see what I mean. Literally no one had anything good to say about him.

    My personal favorite tweet likened Dellavedova to the Cleveland Cavalier’s version of Jerry Gergich (for those of you who don’t know Jerry Gergich click here and here).

    For those not familiar with Delly’s background, he is in his second NBA season (both with Cleveland). During his college career at Saint Mary’s (CA) the man known by teammates and fans as “Delly” earned a reputation as a rugged defender with unlimited range. He holds several all-time records at Saint Mary’s. He even has his #4 jersey hanging in the rafters there. After going undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft Delly joined the Cavs’ summer league team where he would catch on and earn a roster spot.

    See, easy to root for. A guy who goes undrafted and beats the odds to make it in a NBA rotation. What’s not to like?

    I asked myself,  “Why do Cavs fans hate this guy so much?”

    Is it the stats?

    His lack of production is concerning,

    In about 20 minutes per night Delly averages 4.4 points, 2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. As a “Team Delly” member I can’t lie, that’s not very good. When you put his stats into a deeper perspective they become even worse. According to his 4.3 percent player impact estimate or PIE is dead last on the team in regards to regular rotational players (learn what PIE is here). In layman’s terms PIE is a good way to simply measure how effective a player is. Delly isn’t very effective.

    He also poses the worst net rating (-1.5) of anyone on the team getting at least 20 minutes per game (per So when Delly’s on the court the Cavs are a losing team.

    What else?

    Does he pass well? He is a point guard for goodness sake. The answer is no. Delly only averages 4.9 assists per 36 minutes (per, that’s not good.

    If the Cavaliers go on to win the championship this year, Delly (statistically speaking) could go down as the worst back up point guard to ever win a title.

    With all of this being said, I still don’t understand the backlash given to head coach David Blatt for giving Delly the playing time. Who else do they have?

    They simply do not have another player who is capable of manning that back up position to Kyrie Irving.

    There were rumors around the trade deadline of the team acquiring the likes of a Norris Cole from the Miami Heat (now with the New Orleans Pelicans) or Mo Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves (now with the Charlotte Hornets) to upgrade, but those deals didn’t pan out. So this is as good as it’s going to get people. Delly is here to stay (at least for this season).

    I root hard for Delly because he hustles. His scrappy mentality is something I can easily get behind. There’s no doubt that he gives 100 % every time he steps on the court.

    Also having LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love helps mask these flaws in Delly’s game. They can overcome having basically no production (stats wise) from a back up because they are just that talented. His stints on the court don’t have to be that long. So his hustle is that much more important. If he comes in and hits a couple of shots or makes a few plays on defense it’s all icing on the cake.

    You would think that a blue-collar city like Cleveland would love a guy who personifies what a Midwestern town is about.

    No one man on a basketball team deserves this type of hate. Especially not a back up. Sure he doesn’t pass very well, the team gets outscored when he’s on the court, he doesn’t finish well at the rim, he can only make shots from one spot on the court and is prone to getting embarrassed by Andre Iguodala, but I love him because he gives it his all. From a guy that wasn’t supposed to make it this far I can respect that. People, give Delly a chance.

    Next: Cleveland Cavaliers Defense: The Timofey Mozgov Effect

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