Aussies in NBA: Dellavedova excited as new beginning approaches
There was a sense of calmness when Matthew Dellavedova opened his media day press conference with, “How’s it goin’?”
Despite the new uniform, new city and new team, Dellavedova wasn’t affected; his light-hearted Aussie nature was on show as soon as he stepped up to the podium.
You couldn’t wipe the smile off Dellavedova’s face, and why would you try? After all, he is coming off an NBA championship winning summer and a thrilling Olympic run, and Dellavedova is now eager to get started with his new Milwaukee teammates.
“I’m excited, really excited,” Dellavedova said at the Milwaukee Bucks media day.
“A little bit nervous coming in with a new team, different role but I’m really looking forward to it.
“The last two weeks getting to know all the boys, getting to know the different system has been good.
“I’ve been counting down the days, I’m looking forward to getting started tomorrow and getting this thing rolling and getting into it.”
Originally projected as the primary back-up point guard to Michael Carter-Williams, Dellavedova’s role has changed before it even began.
With the hamstring injury to Khris Middleton, who is expected to be on the sidelines from anywhere between 4-6 months, coach Jason Kidd has now confirmed Dellavedova's role as a starter.
Despite the change, Dellavedova won’t change his method coming into camp.
“I don’t think my approach changes,” Dellavedova said.
“I want to come in and play hard and compete. I think my role here is to help out all these other guys and help them become as good as they can be.
“We got a lot of young guys with a lot of potential.
"We’re still young and learning a lot of things, as I’m still learning a lot of new things as well.
“Just trying to help them as much as I can, grow with them and compete.”
While Kidd hinted at Rashad Vaughn starting alongside Dellavedova, a pairing with Carter-Williams looms as a possibility.
The Delly-MCW tandem has history, as they were in the same draft class and Carter-Williams’ coach in Philadelphia, Brett Brown, was Dellavedova’s former national team coach.
The potential of a Dellavedova-MCW combo holds promise. Carter-Williams can get to the rim better than most point guards, thanks to his tremendous length, while Dellavedova serves as a greater playmaker and outside shooter.
Both guards are pit-bull defenders and the Aussie is bullish on the prospects for the duo.
“Michael’s great,” Dellavedova said. “We’ve been playing on the same team a bit when we have been playing pick-up here and I think because we’re different players and we can provide different things, we can fit pretty well together on the court.”
Dellavedova has never been known as a leader, but with his NBA Finals experience, he stands as one of the most seasoned players in Milwaukee.
The post-season knowledge is something the Bucks are thriving for and Dellavedova is keen to help in anyway he can.
“If they got any questions about anything, they know they can approach me and I’ll give them the best answer I can,” Dellavedova said.
“A lot of these guys already have been asking a lot of questions and they want to learn and they want to get better.
“They were asking about the intensity of the games in the playoffs and the finals and hopefully we can get there and they can see it for themselves.”
Along with mentoring his new teammates, Dellavedova is preparing to do whatever new coach Jason Kidd demands of him – even if it is somewhat out of his comfort zone.
“Whatever coach Kidd needs, I’ll be ready to do,” Dellavedova said. “If I need to play shooting guard or point guard or small forward or power forward, centre might be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll try to do whatever’s needed.”
Playing with LeBron James in Cleveland over the past two seasons, Dellavedova knows what it takes to get to the biggest stage and he also knows the process behind it.
That process starts in training camp and Dellavedova is ready to bring the right mentality into the preseason, something he hopes his teammates can follow.
“Things like making the extra pass on offence, or giving a teammate a high-five or diving on a loose ball, all those things are contagious,” Dellavedova said.
“I think it starts in training camp, and we want to get off to a good start tomorrow.”