By John O’Malley
Game Scouted: Saint Mary’s (CA)- 87 at Pepperdine- 48
February 27, 2013
#4 Matthew Dellavedova; PG/SG; 6’4; 190lbs. Senior (27 min, 8-18 FG, 5-8 3FG, 4-4 FT, 25 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals)
Offensively, Dellavedova’s court vision is one of the best I’ve seen in college basketball. He is patient, reads the defense and attacks whatever the defense gives him. He has a very high basketball IQ and looks for the best look. Very unselfish player, always looking to pass the ball to whoever is open. He is excellent at ball distribution. He can make the cross court pass, right into shooters pocket whether it’s on a bounce or skip pass. He made a spectacular bounce pass in transition, placing it right in stride for the wing to score a simple layup. He makes it easy for the Gaels to get into an offensive rhythm. People have questioned whether he is a point guard or shooting guard. Although he is versatile off the ball and can hit a spot up jumper, he’s much more active and comfortable with the ball in his hands running point.
Dellavedova is not only a keen passer, but also a streaky scorer. When he gets hot, it’s difficult for the defense to cool him off and get out of rhythm. Great example from tonight’s game was from the three-point range, going 62% from behind the arc. He has a solid right-handed jumper. He squares his body, gets good elevation, drives his legs in balance and stride, and holds his follow thru. He has great shot selection, and is crafty keeping the defense on their toes. He utilizes the floater very well. He will drive, but prefers the jump shot. If he is open, sometimes he takes the initiative to penetrate and then make the kick-out pass to an open teammate. He is good off isolations. He is strong and added more weight and muscle from the offseason. This body strength is good for setting screens. It also benefits him when he penetrates and absorbs contact from the bigs in the paint. He struggles a little bit in finishing off contact. But once he draws contact around the basket, he is a golden 87% free throw shooter.
Not just offensively minded, Dellavedova is a solid defender. He keeps a constant low defensive stance, closes out with high hands, and keeps arms distance with his defender. He is a hustler every second of the game and plays with high intensity and passion. He has tremendous stamina, even though he sat the final minutes of the second half because it was so one-sided. Fearless and never gives up on a play. Treats each possession like it matters. He likes to take control the game early. Very coachable player. Has great faith in his teammates. He keeps a positive attitude, encouraging teammates. He is always directing the offense and pointing.
Though he can zip the ball to his teammates, Dellavedova doesn’t have lightening quick legs. His upper body strength allows him to get to the rim rather than his foot speed. He is fast, but doesn’t have lighting quick agility or can outrun anyone coast to coast. His lateral agility and quickness needs to improve. I’m not sure if he could guard an athletic slasher throughout an entire course of a game. As a shooter, he can polish some of his jab steps and pump fakes. He utilizes these moves, but sometimes they need to be quicker to bite the defender. On defense, Dellavedova likes to get involved in help defense when the ball is in the post. This is good he helps and swipes, but he tends to overdo it and will get too deep into the paint, thus leaving shooters wide open on the perimeter.
Coming into tonight’s game, Dellavedova was selected as a finalist for this year’s Naismith Player of the Year Award, and rightfully so. Dellavedova is the heart and soul of the Gaels program. He is the Gaels all-time leader in assists and games started, and will just need 4 more points on senior night to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. His decisions and talents have impacted Saint Mary’s success since he joined the roster four years ago. He has worked hard to improve his talent over the years and has become a true leader for the Gaels. When it comes to competing at the next level, Matthew definitely has the tangibles to play professionally. He’s already had experience playing on his national Australian Olympic team this past summer in London, where he averaged 28 minutes per game, 7.3 points per game, and 4.5 assists per game.
NBA teams should not sleep on Matthew. One speculation going against Dellavedova is he doesn’t face the competition of the power conferences on a regular basis. The highest I see him selected in the NBA Draft would be mid-to-late second round. If he goes undrafted, I see him earning a spot on a Summer League roster and trying to make a spot right before or during the regular season through hard work in the D-League. Dellavedova could have a safe career as a reliable back-up point guard for NBA teams.