Matthew Dellavedova, in case you haven’t noticed, has become a bit of a cult hero during the NBA Finals – and not just in Cleveland. Fans all across the country have come to appreciate what the 24-year-old Aussie has done for LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who are seeking their first NBA title in franchise history.
Well, maybe not fans in the Oakland area, but still.
“Matty Dellavedova – you can’t say enough great things about him,” two-time NBA champion and CSN Philadelphia NBA analyst Malik Rose said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s been unbelievable so far.”
Rose, 40, played for San Antonio from 1997 to 2005, winning championships in 1999 and 2003. The Spurs were – and are – known for their commitment to defense, for having role players who buy into the team-first philosophy and do whatever it takes to help their team win.
So, basically, for having players like Dellavedova.
Rose was asked if the former Saint Mary’s standout reminds him of any of his former teammates.
“Lots of guys,” Rose said. “I can’t think of one right now, but believe me – and I’m not just saying this because I’m on the show or anything – but he can find a home on 30 teams in the NBA just because of what he’s done. I mean, that’s the type of guy – all that grit, that hustle and hard work – it’s contagious. It’s like he’s in the perfect place at the perfect time right now with an undermanned, injured Cleveland team. Game 2, you can’t tell me that (the Cavaliers) didn’t have some sort of doubt in their mind. And mainly because of LeBron – but also because of the grit that Dellavedova is showing – they believe. They believe 100 percent that they can get this done.”
But not without a little controversy along the way. Yes, some have labeled Dellavedova a dirty player, as he has been involved in several loose-ball scrums throughout the playoffs. One led to a season-ending ankle injury for Kyle Korver, while another led to an Al Horford ejection.
Rose, however, doesn’t feel that Dellavedova is dirty.
“What gains respect for Dellavedova is (the fact that) on most nights, he couldn’t guard Steph Curry if he wanted to,” Rose said. “I mean, on most nights, he has half the talent, but he’s getting twice as much done. Guys that work hard like that and succeed, they get – like what we call in the NBA – street cred.
“You can call him dirty or whatever you want to call him,” Rose continued. “I don’t think he’s dirty. Some plays maybe he’s towing the line of dirty, but I’ve played against dirty players, and I don’t think Matthew Dellavedova is a dirty player. He’s extremely tough, physical and he competes. You just got to live with it. He can definitely find a job anywhere in the NBA, man. A lot of guys in the league are going to respect him because of what he’s doing right now.”