Last week, budding NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo shared in a conference call that new Milwaukee Buck Matthew Dellavedova is the best teammate he has ever had in his time in the NBA so far.
The huge compliment came as a surprise to some, as Dellavedova only joined Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee a few months ago on a four year, $38 million dollar deal.
However, to those that know the character of Dellavedova, it isn’t a surprise at all.
“Matthew is the best teammate I have ever played with in these four years,” The 21 year old native of Greece said.
“He always wants to get in the pick-and-roll, everything he does he wants to get it right. He’s a willing passer, so he makes it a lot easier, so I think we can get a lot better,” Antetokounmpo explained.
“I think we have [a] great connection and it’s helping the team.”
This isn’t the first time an NBA star has had high praise for Dellavedova and his abilities as a teammate.
Just months prior to Antetokounmpo’s comments, one of the greatest players of all time was sharing similar sentiments on the country kid from Maryborough.
“Y’all saw it the last two years, Delly giving everything,” NBA superstar LeBron James recalled at the Cavaliers’ championship parade in downtown Cleveland in June.
“He damn near gave his life for us last year in The Finals. He had to go the hospital after one of our Finals games.”
“If there was a bear right here and Delly right here and I shot the ball and was wondering who would get to the ball first, Delly would tear that damn bear up,” James laughed.
The importance of having high character teammates during the long, gruelling NBA season is paramount to a teams success. After all, athletes will spend the vast majority of a season in the company of teammates.
Between preseason, 41 away games, 41 home games, film sessions, training, lifting weights and recovery, players are exposed to their teammates almost as much as their families at home.
A great teammate elevates your game. They know the tendencies of those around them and try their utmost to maximize your abilities. They make playing the game easy and enjoyable.
Both Tristan Thompson and Andrew Bogut would attest to how easy Matthew Dellavedova has made basketball seem to them in the past.
The work of a high caliber teammate goes far beyond just the basketball court, too. A great teammate continues to keep morale high and push his team during those seemingly endless road trips.
A great teammate is when, when the national anthem is playing, you can look down the line and become enboldened that they are standing beside you, knowing they will give it their all for you.
Just last year, controversy erupted when Dellavedova accidently caused Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver to miss the remainder of the 2015 playoffs when he dove for a loose ball and rolled up on his leg, causing Korver to suffer a high ankle sprain.
People were quick to label the Aussie as dirty, but despite the vicious backlash, Dellavedova continued to put his body and reputation on the line by diving for loose balls.
As a teammate, knowing Dellavedova was taking major criticism for diving for loose balls and yet continued to do it for the benefit of the team, is highly motivating.
A great teammate is with you when you raise the championship trophy in triumph, as well as when you sit in solemn silence in the locker room after absolute heartbreak.
Matthew Dellavedova has seen both many heartbreaks and triumphs during his last two NBA campaigns with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Delly, now in his fourth NBA season, has developed into the type of teammate that everyone wants on their team. His gritty style of play, dedication to the game of basketball, his understanding of his role on a team and, the willingness to put his body on the line are all qualities that make up a great teammate.
While Dellavedova’s role in Cleveland last season was important, the Aussie has stepped it up even more in the early part of the 2016/17 season in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are the youngest team in the NBA, at an average of just 24.1 years of age. At age 26, Dellavedova is one of the more experienced players on the roster, and is using his Finals experience to guide the young Bucks in the right direction.
“My role, here, is to help out these other guys, and help them become as good as they can be. We’ve got a lot of young guys with a lot of potential,” Dellavedova said earlier this season.
“They’re still young and learning a lot of things, and I’m still learning a lot of things as well, so just trying to help them as much as I can, grow with them and compete.”
Despite being a member of the Bucks for just a few months, the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo has already labelled him as the best teammate he has ever had speaks volumnes to the type of person Matthew Dellavedova is.
The humble, hard working kid from country Victoria is the ultimate teammate.