There are plenty of obvious positives to playing alongside LeBron James, but there are certainly drawbacks, too.
In his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova knows the negatives better than anyone because his locker is right next door to the NBA club’s superstar recruit.
When 25 or more media members are swarming James in the corner after games, it can make getting showered and dressed tricky for anyone else in the vicinity. That includes Dellavedova, who says the media attention is the biggest adjustment he’s had to make since last season.
“It’s a lot more people in the locker room when you’re trying to get ready,” said Boomers guard Dellavadova.
On a team of big name stars – James, fellow recruit Kevin Love and gun point guard Kyrie Irving – and former champions – Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones – Dellavedova has quickly earned the trust of first-year coach David Blatt.
While Blatt has struggled to find consistent minutes for more established veterans such as Marion and Miller, he’s had no trouble using Dellavedova, who played 18 minutes in the opener against the New York Knicks and played 30 minutes in Friday’s win against the Chicago Bulls.
While Dion Waiters struggled through a tough night against the Bulls, Dellavedova played the final three minutes of regulation and all of overtime. Similarly, he was on the court a fair amount alongside Irving during the loss to the Knicks.
“I thought they defended well,” Blatt said of the Irving/Dellavedova pairing. “I thought they both pushed the ball and I thought the team flowed very well.”
Dellavedova is in many ways the perfect complementary piece to the Cavs’ Big Three.
He is a chameleon who can fit with most any other player on the floor. He keeps the ball moving offensively. He’s a gritty defender (something the Cavs sorely need right now) and he doesn’t feel an overwhelming need to shoot. In 48 minutes, he has taken just six shots (four 3-pointers).
When Irving fell into early foul trouble against the Bulls, Dellavedova was called into the game midway through the first quarter. As he has proven throughout his brief NBA career, once he gets on the floor, it’s tough for coaches to take him out despite meagre statistics.
Dellavedova even drew the assignment of Carmelo Anthony on a few possessions against the Knicks. Anthony took him into the post on one occasion, but Dellavedova stretched his arms wide and denied him an entry pass.
“I’ve just stayed ready whenever (Blatt) needs me,” Dellavedova said. “Just try to provide whatever he needs or be the energy for this team.”