Cleveland Cavaliers: Steve Kerr on Matthew Dellavedova's Absence
One big difference Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr sees from previous match-ups with the Cleveland Cavaliers is the absence of Matthew Dellavedova.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are no strangers to one another. Since the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign, the two teams have played each other a total of 18 times, including two finals series. This time was a bit different since the Cavaliers were with Matthew Dellavedova.
For the first 17 of those games, the Cavaliers were with point guard Matthew Dellavedova. In those match-ups, Cavaliers coaches David Blatt and Tryonn Lue were comfortable with Delly guarding the two-time MVP Stephen Curry, whom he had moderate success against.
In the most recent game, however, the Cavs were without Dellavadova, which is Warriors head coach Steve Kerr could notice.
According to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, the absence of Dellavedova ‘jumped out’ to Kerr.
“Dellavedova’s absence jumps out,” Kerr said, before the Cavs and Warriors were to meet on Christmas Day for the renewal of their rivalry. “I think he’s been a big part of their team in the last couple years, so it’s a different look.”
Playing against the Warriors always seemed to get the best out of Delly both offensively and defensively. During the 2015 NBA Finals, Delly, who was forced into the starting point guard role with Kyrie Irving injured, averaged an impressive 7.5 points and 2.7 assists per game while playing exceptional defense on Curry.
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In what was one of his best games with the Cavaliers, Delly erupted for 20 points in game three of that series, including a clutch bucket late in the game to secure a win and give the team a 2-1 lead.
During his days in Cleveland, Delly was a scrappy point guard who had the ability knock down an open three-pointer. With career averages of 5.7 points and rebounds per game while playing for the Cavs, Dellavedova was a perfect compliment toIrving off the bench.
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Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, as the 26-year-old gained experience and confidence he ended up falling out of the teams price range, and ended up signing a four-year, $39 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks during July of 2016.
Ever since Dellavedova left, the Cavaliers have struggled to find a permanent backup point guard, making Kerr’s statement valid.
From the fallout of Mo Williams to the distrust in Kay Felder and Jordan McRae, the Cavaliers have not had a backup point guard all season. Instead, Iman Shumpert, who’s main position in shooting guard, has been taking the minutes behind Irving.
To add salt to the wound, the Cavs have been plagued with injuries as of late. Most notably, starting shooting guard J.R. Smith broke his thumb against the Milwaukee Bucks and is expected to miss three-to-four months, leaving the Cavaliers in more need of depth at the point guard position.
Despite being without their former point guard, the Cavaliers were able to grind out a 109-108 win over the Warriors on Christmas Day, improving their record 23-6. With the Cavaliers in first place in the Eastern Conference, Kerr replied, “apparently not” when asked if the loss of Dellavedova has affected the Cavaliers.
Do you agree with Steve Kerr? Does the absence of Dellavedova jump out? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @KJG_NBA.