The Cavaliers lost 96-98 to the Atlanta Hawks in their first preseason game today. Matthew Dellavedova recorded two points for the night, scoring on one of his six attempts, and missed all three shots from downtown. He also managed five rebounds, three assists and a steal on 17:20 of playing time (box score).
Delly entered the game mid-way through the first quarter at the 4:52 mark. He played alongside a new bench unit that included Andersen Varejao, Sasha Kaun, Joe Harris and veteran journeyman Richard Jefferson. It's not a surprise that this lineup --and likely the rest of the bench-- is still very much a work in progress; the team featured plenty of new names, hesitant passing and unexpected turnovers.
What makes the unit interesting, is that Varejao orchestrates the offense, more than Dellavedova in his point guard role. The possessions begin with a Dellavedova/big man pick and roll play. Delly then kicks the ball out to Varejao, who then looks to make the right play: either finding an open shooter, or taking the mid-range jumper.
How will Dellavedova adjust to life alongside the Cavaliers' other big men (not Mozgov or Thompson, if he does eventually sign)? There was evident chemistry between Delly and veteran Cavalier Varejao; expect to see more of their two-man game moving forward, while newcomer Kaun adjusts to the team.
Containing Dennis Schröder at the perimeter proved to be a challenge for Dellavedova at times. Notice how quickly the Atlanta guard broke free on this possession.
Delly's role tonight wasn't to score, and it was evident from his shot selection. Most of the outside shots were taken as a third option, or as a buzzer-beater. Whenever he drove or pass, it was more to work the defense and move the ball.
Final thought: will he remain as a staple in the second unit, or is there a chance of him appearing alongside the starters? For now, the former seems like a likelier option.