Boomers guard Matthew Dellavedova attended an Australian media event in partnership with Spalding, at the Victoria University Community Sports Stadium yesterday. Dellavedova, who is the Spalding ambassador, was in Melbourne to help support Spalding’s commitment to supporting grassroots basketball leagues and players. Spalding also announced their partnership with Basketball NSW earlier this year, as well as becoming the naming rights partner for the Waratah League.
The event was also a chance for Dellavedova to address his latest season in the NBA, and share his thoughts on the year ahead.
Thoughts on the NBA
After returning home from a dramatic tour with the Australian Boomers, Matthew Dellavedova indicated his keen desire to return to the NBA hardwood, after a disappointing season that saw him battle with multiple injuries. The tenacious Milwaukee guard encountered tendinitis in his left knee early on, only to sustain a severe left ankle sprain against the Brooklyn Nets in February. Dellavedova ended up playing only 38 games, and logged the fewest minutes per game he’s had, since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, Dellavedova voiced optimism about his health heading into the upcoming season. “[My body is] feeling really good,” he shared. “It’s been good to get some games in with the Boomers. I’ve been rehabbing, spending a lot of time in the weight room.”
The 27 year old is aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but feels the events of the past season have made him stronger. “I’ve worked hard on my body to make sure it is right. [Last season] was frustrating, but it’s all a part of a learning experience.” With his injuries keeping him off the court, Dellavedova had to learn to help his team in other ways, especially when it came to support for his teammates on the sidelines. “[As an injured player] I’ve still got to find ways to contribute to the team and help out, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying to play this year.”
The veteran guard’s disrupted NBA season wasn’t the only issue the Bucks faced during last season. After the controversial sacking of Jason Kidd in January, and the appointment of Joe Prunty as interim coach, the Milwaukee Bucks had a turbulent year, without the luxury of stable and clear leadership. The Bucks finished the season in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, and were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in a seven game series against the Boston Celtics. Dellavedova expressed his excitement for a fresh start under the leadership of veteran coach, Mike Budenholzer. “I think we have a great team, and a new coach who I’m excited to work with. [Budenholzer] has a great reputation, he did really well in Atlanta. So, I think it is going to be fun.”
The growth of Australian basketball
As Dellavedova interacted with the kids attending the Spalding event, running some basic drills, it was clear that growing the sport in Australia is an important task to him. Despite a recent dark chapter in the Philippines, Dellavedova is optimistic that basketball in Australia has a bright future. “There is a lot of exciting stuff happening right now in Australian basketball.
“I don’t think there has been a better time for Australian basketball, that I can remember.”
On to the NBL?
When asked about a potential future in the NBL, following in the footsteps of Andrew Bogut, Dellavedova indicated he was keeping his options open. “I’d love to play here one day. Obviously, I want to play in the NBA for as long as I can. I’m sure mum and dad would enjoy me playing back here for a few years.” Hopefully, at age 27, the NBL is still a few years away for Matthew Dellavedova.