We’re all big fans of Matthew Dellavedova here at Mike or The Don.
Not only is he Australian, but he could be the best underdog story in the NBA.*
Dellavedova didn’t get drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers with fanfare and a party.
In 2013, he worked his way onto the team and endeared himself to (most) fans with his willingness to put his body on the line, team-first attitude, and hard-work.
One of the quirks of Dellavedova’s career is that he joined the Cavs as their least-heralded rookie. That year the Cavs had other highly-touted rookies including the #1 Draft Pick, Anthony Bennett.
Dellavedova ended up contributing to the team much more than any of his peers. None of the other 2013 draftees are still with the Cavs. They were traded or waived after failing to live up to their hype.
The Cavs kept Dellavedova.
They kept the least-likely member of their draft class of 2013.
He was like that last guy left standing in front of the fence during school lunch team selections, and he ended up being the most important player.
So it got us thinking… if we re-picked the Draft Class of 2013… with what we know now… where would Dellavedova have ended up?
Fair warning: If you’re not an NBA fan, this list won’t make a lot of sense to you, and it obviously a huge hypothetical that totally ignores team circumstances, positional needs, and a range of other factors… but let’s have some fun!
Mike or The Don’s “Re-Imagined” 2013 NBA Draft
#1 Pick: Rudy Gobert – Cleveland Cavaliers. You can’t teach someone to be 7’2″. A defensive pivot for a decade is always worth a Top Draft Pick.
#2 Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Orlando Magic. You can’t teach 6’11” either, or incredible athleticism and the capacity to create matchup nightmares every night.
#3 Pick: Victor Oladipo – Washington Wizards. Obviously the Wizard backcourt is nicely set, but Oladipo is a menace defensively and with natural offensive progression will be a very solid player for the next decade.
#4 Pick: Nerlens Noel – Charlotte Hornets. Poor Nerlens. Noel has impressed on an awful Philadelphia team. His story only slightly improves in our re-imagining of the 2013 Draft.
#5 Pick: Michael Carter-Williams – Phoenix Suns. Who is MCW? Is he Evan Turner-lite, or Evan Turner 2.0? Who the hell knows. He’s Phoenix’s problem in this universe. They can deal with it.
#6 Pick: Steven Adams – New Orleans Pelicans. The big Kiwi will have a 10+ year NBA career as a villain and agitator. Would actually slot in brilliantly next to Anthony Davis, wouldn’t he?
#7 Pick: Dennis Schroeder – Sacramento Kings. Would the German Rondo have fit alongside DaMarcus Cousins? Of course, they now have the Real Rondo, so we’ll soon find out…
#8 Pick: Alex Len – Detroit Pistons. Detroit have an amazing track record with 7-foot European dudes taken high in the draft. Superstar Darko Milicic is a testament to that fact. Also, word to the wise… don’t pick fights with Ukrainian dudes.
#9 Pick: Mason Plumlee – Utah Jazz. Soon to be in posters all over bedroom walls over the earth, so he’s got that going for him…
#10 Pick: Gorgui Dieng – Portland Trailblazers. This is a “big men” heavy list, isn’t it? Dieng is 25 years old?! Still, he’s a solid Centre, worth a Top Ten pick.
#11 Pick: Tony Snell – Philadelphia 76ers. Athletic shooter who I firmly believe could thrive if not for the fact that Tom Thibodeau has a deep paranoia about playing non-veteran players. Snell is just ahead of…
#12 Pick: Otto Porter – Oklahoma City Thunder. Might’ve been picked above Snell but we now know that Snell once humiliated Porter, so there’s that.
#13 Pick: Kelly Olynyk – Boston Celtics. The first “They got that right on the money” selection of the draft. Mainly because Danny Ainge is a wizard and to doubt him is a fools errand. Olynyk was also a rim-roll away from one of the ballsiest plays in NBA history…
#14 Pick: Matthew Dellavedova – Minnesota Timberwolves.
WE DID IT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
WE GOT DELLY PICKED IN THE LOTTERY!
The last Lottery Pick (Lottery = Top 14 picks) goes to our man, Matthew Dellavedova, who edges Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ben McLemore and Tim Hardaway Jr!
Of course guys like Caldwell-Pope, McLemore and Hardaway Jr might have more “upside” potential, but as of November 2015 none of them has shut down a league MVP in the NBA Finals or been the biggest X-Factor on a team playing crucial playoff basketball.
Delly has done that.
His PER is better than theirs, and it’s improving. His defence is improving, his passing and chemistry with Tristan Thompson are improving, and he’s still frustrating the hell out of opponents.
Minnesota would’ve been an AWFUL environment for Delly. If he actually went to the T-Wolves he’d probably be out of the league by now. And of course teams wouldn’t actually pick Delly at 14 in hindsight because the “upside” of other players is still being recognised… but it’s still nice to think that (based on current experiences) Delly is right up there with the best guys who ALL got picked ahead of him.
Well done Delly! In our universe, you’re a lottery selection!