The Buck Stops Here Roundtable #5: Delly at the Olympics

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Milwaukee Bucks
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Given several key rule and style of play differences between NBA and Olympic basketball, how much value should be placed on Matthew Dellavedova’s strong performances and statistics from the group stage?

AC: What’s stood out to me the most about Delly’s performance so far is 1) his playmaking, as evidenced in his gaudy assist totals and particularly compared with his low turnover output and alley-oop passes, and 2) his defense, as evidenced in his terrific plus-minus output. These do have to be taken with a grain of salt, as the overall athleticism and skill on the international court is not up to par with what you see in the NBA. Even if these outputs do not completely translate, Bucks fans should still be happy seeing what Delly has done, as he has maintained his defensive acumen and shooting stroke, and a newfound appetite for alley-oops will fit in well with the likes of Jabari Parker and Miles Plumlee.

JT: There are certainly aspects of Dellavedeova’s play that hold value when it comes to thinking of how he can positively impact the Bucks next year and beyond. Things we’ve come to expect from him, such as efficient shooting and solid playmaking, have all been there, at least in his play throughout the group stage. That being said, I would say that due to his role and getting a high amount of minutes in Australia’s competitive games, Dellavedova’s assist numbers have certainly been inflated and it’s hard seeing him reaching those levels once the season gets underway.

AM: As I alluded to in my previous answer, I don’t feel like there’s a reason to discredit it. If he had padded his stats against the likes of Venezuela or China that would be a different issue, but they were actually his worst games.

There’s clearly a special chemistry with this Australian team and that’s something which will take time for him to build in Milwaukee. Will he be able to throw alley-oops like these in a Bucks jersey though? Of course. Will he cope in playing off the ball and allowing others to create who aren’t LeBron James? It’s worked with Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut, so why won’t it look even better with Giannis.

His Olympic play can’t be taken in isolation, but his play and stats are entirely valid and should be taken into consideration with the rest of his NBA body of work.

TW: I think Matthew Dellavedova’s international statistics should be kept entirely within a FIBA/Olympic context, because it’s a different style of basketball and he is playing a more ball dominant role to what we will be expecting to see him do with the Bucks next season.

That being said, the quality of his performances should not be discredited at all. Delly’s best games of the tournament so far have come against teams with NBA-caliber talent in their starting five and/or match-up at his position. In particular, against Team USA, Delly certainly held his own, if not, outplayed Kyrie Irving for most of the tightly contested game.

Rather than specifically focus on the numbers, there’s plenty more to take away from Delly’s quality of play in the Olympic tournament so far, specifically his super-efficient play-making, willingness to throw alley-oops and high-quality shot selection, all things which should be valuable assets to the Bucks next season.

Next: Should the NBA adopt FIBA rules?