How Matthew Dellavedova can help Milwaukee's turnover issues
The Milwaukee Bucks have a turnover issue, and Matthew Dellavedova may be the panacea.
As Milwaukee were throwing turnovers --and a playoff spot-- all over the court last season, Dellavedova was establishing himself as one of the league’s most reliable back-up point guards.
The Bucks averaged 15.2 turnovers --the fifth-worst rate in the league-- with a turnover ratio of 15.7, incidentally also fifth-worst. Additionally, Milwaukee’s middling 1.52 assist-to-turnover ratio would have frustrated coach, and notorious passer, Jason Kidd.
To add to Milwaukee's turnover debacle, they gave up 17.7 points off them last season, the seventh-worst in the NBA. Good basketball teams limit the impact of their mistakes, by not allowing the opponent to take advantage from them, but the Bucks failed in this area.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, Dellavedova was a top-10 point guard (with at least 50 games played) in assist-to-turnover ratio, with a rate of 2.91. Dellavedova’s turnovers (1.5) and turnover ratio (11.7) were above the league average for guards last season.
As a backup point guard, you’re not required to put up big numbers. It's not scoring, but rather reliability that coaches look for when it comes to second-string point guards.
"Can I put you on the court, knowing that you’re going to make the right decision at the right time?’
Dellavedova has shown he can be trusted, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is pegged to take up a larger point guard role, is dependable with the ball.
Of Carter-Williams and turnovers
The Bucks’ primary point guard last season, Michael Carter-Williams is a turnover machine, and was at the forefront of their ball handling issues.
While his raw turnover numbers were bad –2.8 on average– Carter-Williams’ analytical measures were horrible. Carter-Williams’ turnovers ratio, 14.4, was ranked 73rd out of qualified point guards. That mark was only better than Pablo Prigioni, Raul Neto, Steve Blake and Marcelo Huertas.
Furthermore, Carter-Williams’ assist-to-turnover ratio --an area where Dellavedova excelled last season-- was just the 62nd best in the league, out of players who played 50 or more games.
"Guys are trying to do it themselves and sometimes that happens," Kidd said about the turnovers, after a late March loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Comparing Delly with MCW
It's safe to say Dellavedova won’t be guilty of this claim.
When Dellavedova is running the Bucks’ offence, it’ll be a pleasant change from Carter-Williams’ sloppy ways.
Dellavedova has curated a collection of go-to moves throughout his career, most noticeably his pinpoint lob passes to Tristan Thompson. Now that he's playing with the athletic Miles Plumlee, look for Dellavedova to form a similar bond. It’s these plays, along with Dellavedova’s solid spot-up three-point shooting, that have moulded him into a reliable bench asset.
Carter-Williams has failed to form any go-to plays with his Bucks teammates. Without textbook plays or good chemistry, unanticipated passes run the risk of becoming turnovers.
His style of play also differs vastly from Dellavedova’s.
Carter-Williams uses his large frame to get to the rim proficiently. From zero to three feet from the basket, Carter-Williams connected on 56.9 per cent of his shots last season, evidence of his ability to finish from close range. He struggled outside the paint though, and shot just 36.6 per cent on his mid-range attempts last season, while taking only 55 three-pointers.
How Dellavedova could work alongside Carter-Williams
You need to take the good with the bad in relation to Carter-Williams, and his turnovers and poor outside shooting cancels out his good work at the basket.
In this sense, a Dellavedova/Carter-Williams pairing could help the much-maligned Bucks.
When Dellavedova is running the offence, it will allow Carter-Williams to play off the ball. With his slashing and finishing ability, Carter-Williams could be rewarded with some easier looks around the basket. This takes the ball out of Carter-Williams' hands, without limiting his effectiveness.
Additionally, if Carter-Williams attracts multiple defenders inside, he could kick it out to an open Dellavedova on the perimeter.
Dellavedova and Carter-Williams could also form a devastating defensive duo. Their immense hustle and relentless attitudes will help Milwaukee improve on their middling defensive efforts last season.
Could Delly start next season?
If things go really pear-shaped for Carter-Williams, Dellavedova could potentially be moved into the starting line-up. This allows Carter-Williams the luxury of coming off the bench as an energy guard, without the burden of running the offence to begin a game.
The Bucks will start the season with Carter-Williams at the point guard position. However, Dellavedova could turn out to be one of the offseason's most underrated signings.
His dependability will help shore up a turnover-prone Bucks outfit, while making up for Carter-Williams' weaknesses. A Dellavedova/Carter-Williams tandem could also be used as a weapon to help get Milwaukee back into the playoffs.
While he is leaving a championship-winning team, Dellavedova's role in Milwaukee will be just as important, if not more, than his one in Cleveland.