Milwaukee Bucks’ Matthew Dellavedova Plays For Australia As Part Of Olympic Preparations

Jan 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) reacts in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) reacts in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

After a frenetic month, which included an NBA Championship and signing with the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, Matthew Dellavedova was back in Australia with the national team as they took on the Pac-12 Conference All-Stars.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Tyler Ennis (Canada) recently knocked out in the final round of Olympic qualifying, one of the newest members of the Milwaukee Bucks, Matthew Dellavedova, will be the team’s sole representative at the Rio Olympics with the Australian National Team, the “Boomers.”

After completing a team physical and officially signing his four year, $38 million contract with the Bucks following a sign-and-trade agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Delly flew back to Australia to join the Boomers as they continued their final preparations for the Rio Olympics on home soil with a two-game series against the Pac-12 Conference All-Stars, led by former Golden State Warriors coach, Mike Montgomery.

However, due to insurance issues surrounding Dellavedova’s move, the point guard was limited in practice and forced to sit for the first game of the series. Joining Delly on the inactive list was former Buck Andrew Bogut, who is currently recovering from a knee injury sustained in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals and has until August 5 to prove his fitness for the Olympics, which begin the following day.

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Without two of Australia’s best, the Boomers unconvincingly overcame a young and impressive Pac-12 Conference All-Stars team, 92-83. Australia trailed by four after the first quarter before the Pistons’ Aron Baynes used his considerable size and strength advantage to dominate the lesser experienced college players inside the paint. He finished with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds whilst the Spurs’ Patty Mills also had 15 points for the hosts.

Delly was cleared to play for the final game of the series and in his first competitive outing since the 2016 NBA Finals, finished with two points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes off the bench in the 93-63 win.

The returned hometown hero checked in mid-way during the first quarter to a warm reception from the Melbourne crowd. He slot in next to Patty Mills in the backcourt as the primary ball handler and instantly made an impact, drawing attention from the defense and kicking the ball out to the open man on the perimeter.

Delly is a team-first guy, he’s not concerned with scoring the ball, he just wants to find the open man and get good looks for his teammates.

In fact, he only had one field-goal attempt all night and even then, he was able to turn the offensive rebound into an assist with a quality touch-pass to Patty Mills for the four-point play.

Overall, it was a much improved performance from the Boomers, who were locked in defensively with a full-court press and moved the ball much more fluidly than in the previous game. London 2012 Olympic scoring leader Patty Mills was on fire, dropping 29 points on 10-18 from the field and 5-9 from three. Once again Aron Baynes was huge for Australia in the paint, dropping 19 points on 9-13 with eight rebounds whilst the Jazz’ Joe Ingles had eight points and 11 assists.

Full credit must be given to the Pac-12 Conference All-Stars, who were able to hold their own against a strong Australian team filled with NBA and EuroLeague level professional players. In particular, Kadeem Allen (Arizona), Lorenzo Bonham (Utah) and Tra Holder (Arizona State) were very impressive.

Following the game Dellavedova said that it was great to have the opportunity to play on home soil as it’s something that doesn’t happen very often for Australia’s NBA players. Further, he expressed his pride in wearing the green and gold jersey and how much representing Australia at the Olympics means to him personally.

During the post-game press conference, Australian Head Coach Andrej Lemanis was happy with Delly’s first game back given his inability to practice with the team for most of the week. He added that Delly is such an incredibly hard working player so the team needs to be smart easing him back into preparations for Rio, especially given the amount of basketball he has played in recent months and the ‘wear and tear’ that can have on players.

This will be Dellavedova’s second Olympic games after he was a part of the Australian team that finished seventh in London four years ago, losing to eventual gold medallists Team USA in the quarter-finals. On what is arguably the most talented Boomers squad of all time, he is expected to start in the Boomers backcourt alongside Patty Mills.

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Delly and the Boomers will now embark on a pre-Olympic tour of South America for a number of warm-up games during a 15-day training camp before their campaign begins in Rio on August 6 against France.