Some people hate the Matthew Dellavedova signing. They don't think he is good at basketball, or just don't care for his general... err... style as a player.
love are fairly pleased with the Matthew Dellavedova signing. They understand his relative mediocrity as a player, but can see him filling a void on this team as a deferential guard that knows and accepts his role -- and are willing to embrace the dirty GRITTY and aesthetically unappealing play that may come with it.
With such a wide spectrum of opinions floating around the internets, it can be hard to know what to trust. But you know what never, ever lies? THE NUMBERS. Specifically, let's focus on the numbers that stand out or figure to be particularly relevant for this Bucks squad.
Let's start with something we know Matthew can do -- shoot. Over his three-year NBA career thus far, Dellavedova has had 50.4% of his shots come from three-point range, and for good reason. He shot 41.0% on them last season, and more specifically shot 46.9% on catch-and shoot threes. Those numbers place him in the league's top ten in each respective category for players who shot those shots as frequently as Delly. Of course, it's also likely his three-point attempt rate correlates with his abysmal 39.2% shooting on twos. Thus, the Bucks most likely didn't bring him in to do his work inside the paint or mid-range, and those shots aren't a big part of his game these days anyways:
The asterisk that seems to haunt his impressive shooting numbers to this point is the assumed benefit of playing alongside LeBron James for the past two seasons. This footnote is certainly warranted, but shouldn't completely discount his shooting ability. Delly shot a very respectable 36.8% from deep (38.7% catch-and-shoot) in his rookie season sans LeBron in 2013, while also posting his best mark on two-pointers (46.2%) prior to James' return. In fact, the amount of his three pointers that were assisted has actually significantly decreased: 93.0% in 2013, down to 89.7% in 2014, down to 80.6% last season. Regardless, even if we completely assume his bump in efficiency was entirely owed to LeBron's presence, it's unlikely his numbers regress past those same 2013 numbers, especially since he'll be sharing the court with a point forward of his own. Spin his numbers however you want, but it's hard to deny Dellavedova can shoot threes at an at least above average clip.
Speaking of playing an ancillary role in the offense, Dellavedova had a True Usage of just 31.6% last year, meaning he shot the ball, turned it over, or had a potential assist on just under a third of the Cavs' possessions while he was on the court. For comparison's sake, that puts him in the company of point guards like Patrick Beverley and George Hill. Conveniently, it also falls below Khris Middleton's and Giannis Antetokounmpo's same numbers. In other words: Bucks fans have always wanted to see an off-ball point guard next to their Big 3, and Dellavedova should be a good lens to see what that might look like.
Given the Bucks' current situation at the point guard position, it's inevitable that Dellavedova is going to often be seen in a light compared to Michael Carter-Williams. While many fans look forward to seeing the position filled in a more supportive role next to Giannis (ie by a guy that can also hit threes), Dellavedova currently comes with his limitations compared to MCW.
Lacking the same size and athleticism as Carter-Williams possesses, Delly certainly doesn't provide the same rebounding advantage. His defensive rebounding percentage of 7.8% last year was greatly trumped by MCW's same metric of 15.5%, which is elite for point guards. This figures to be particularly problematic for a Bucks team that struggled heavily last season in that department (29th in the league) despite MCW often crashing in from the perimeter to help out the cause. This may prove inconsequential if Michael stays with the team, and Delly merely assumes Jerryd Bayless's minutes. But if he does eat into MCW's minutes, it'll be interesting to see how the team fares on the defensive glass.
Dellavedova also averaged just 1.2 steals per 100 possessions last season. For comparison, Michael Carter-Williams had 2.3 by the same metric. Clearly some of this is owed to his athletic limitations, but it's not the whole story. After starting two point guards the past two years that often sacrificed team defense for inflated steal numbers (MCW and Brandon Knight), Dellavedova figures to provide a more consistent approach on the defensive side of the ball. It should be interesting to watch how a player like Jabari benefits from playing with a more predictable defender, and even more interesting to see how Sweeney's scheme that is predicated on swarming (and recovering) unpredictability holds up with a player that wasn't physically "built" for it.
Advanced plus-minus metrics seem to agree that Dellavedova was a significant positive on offense last year. Remember, these numbers are specifically designed to take both opponents and teammates into account, so the "LeBron Effect" doesn't necessarily apply here. Rather, their agreement on his offensive effect seems to suggest he played his role as a spot-up shooter and occasional pick-and-roll man significantly well, something that should complement the current Bucks roster well.
The jury seems to be more split on his defensive effect. While RAPM (Regularized Adjusted Plus-Minus) seemed to observe a small positive effect last season, ESPN's RPM (Real Plus Minus) was equally negative on the topic. Regardless, it seems his overall effect to his team's defensive efficiency seems relatively marginal/meh to this point, which could actually be a major-plus given he's replacing Bayless's minutes (-2.34 DRPM). Still, Dellavedova figures to provide a much different defensive archetype to the position from what the team has seen in recent years, and these numbers may see significant change depending on how his approach complements this Bucks' roster and scheme compared to what he's seen in Cleveland so far in his career.
Dellavedova's numbers seem to agree with the public perception of him as a player. 1) He's a good spot-up shooter 2) he can't and shouldn't be used as a primary playmaker and 3) he has proven to be a competent player in other aspects of the game despite his physical limitations. What remains to be seen is how these numbers are affected by his change of scenery. If they remain relatively consistent, Milwaukee has probably found an ideal role player to play alongside their core for the next four years. If not, then we might just be regretting the four-year commitment by this time next year.