Life is good as an NBA Champion and we have seen evidence of how fun that life can be from the summer that the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed. For the most part, the victory lap overshadowed the free agency period.
But, there are some lose ends to tie up for the defending champs. J.R. Smith remains a free agent and will need to be signed soon. Matthew Dellavedova is now a Milwaukee Buck after signing a lucrative 10 million dollar deal.
Without Delly on the bench, Cleveland is now very thin at the point guard spot. Kay Felder was drafted to help with the transition. For a legit contender, relying on a rookie point guard seems like a sketchy proposition.
People have questioned what exactly the club is losing with the Australian’s departure. Here are the three things that the Cavs will miss from Dellavedova:
The Saint Mary’s alum was one of the grittiest defenders in the NBA during his time with the Cavs. He was voted the dirtiest player in the league in an NBA survey this season. People in the city loved him for it because he resonated with the fans’ personal image.
Diving for loose balls and stopping fast breaks were second nature for him. The lasting memory of Delly in Cleveland will have to be how he frustrated Stephen Curry during the 2015 NBA Finals.
He was never the most physically gifted player but, he gave it all every time on the court.
Over the course of his career in Cleveland, the Maryborough native evolved into a competent shooter from deep. Some of this might have a little to do with LeBron James’ return to Cleveland but, it is hard to deny the fact that he became exponentially better from distance.
As soon as The King returned, the 26-year-old jumped up to 40 percent from three-point range for two seasons. In the playoffs, he managed to keep defences honest while playing good enough on the other side of the ball to remain on the floor.
Last postseason, in the earlier rounds, A bench combination of James, Delly, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert mowed down the competition.
Some of this is due to James’ brilliance but, the point guard deserves some credit for this play’s potent offensive potential.
At the top of the key, he would wait for a screen and then have to make a correct read to either deliver a lob to James or whip it to one of the corners when a defender would overcommit. This is stuff that some point guards in the NBA cannot do on a regular basis.
“Horns Rub”, as the play is known, became the quickest way for a team that could score at will to capitalize most easily. This ability probably came into consideration for Milwaukee when they made their offer.
Dellavedova is by no means irreplaceable but, those who say that he had little to do with Cleveland’s success and championship might want to re-evaluate their stance. The Cavs will have to figure out how to plug that hole to repeat.