For as good as it makes us feel, nostalgia is a flawed feeling. As wonderful as memories of the past can be, they typically aren’t accurate. We often remember times gone by for only the good things, while conveniently leaving out the bad. Whether it’s the 1950s, high school, or the career of Michael Jordan, or countless other events or people, things weren’t ever quite as good as we remember them being. Segregation was still rampant in the fifties, high school was still a time of personal doubt for most of us, and Michael Jordan did occasionally miss shots and didn’t win the NBA Championship every season of his career.
Cavalier fans are excited about the return of Matthew Dellavedova, and for the most part, with good reason. The trade of George Hill and Sam Dekker and a 2021 second-round pick for Dellavedova, John Henson, a 2021 first and second-round picks from the Milwaukee Bucks, and 2022 second-round pick from the Washington Wizards looks like a good deal for the team. Still, it might not be the steal that everyone thinks it is. Like everything else in life, there are some blemishes.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman did a good job in getting a first-round pick as part of the price of renting out the Cavaliers’ cap space for next season. Teams have become more hesitant to trade first-round picks in general, and getting an unprotected pick like the Cavs did when they took on Baron Davis‘s contract eight years ago is virtually impossible. Even with protections, any first-round pick is a valuable asset.
Protections on MIL 1st going to CLE, per sources: 1-14 in 2021; 1-10 in 2022; 1-10 and 25-30 in 2023; 1-8 in 2024. Coverts to two seconds in 2025 if not conveyed by then.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 7, 2018
Still, the pick has significant protections. Since the Bucks owe the Phoenix Suns a first-round pick as part of their trade for Eric Bledsoe last season, it’s likely that the Cavs won’t receive their first-round pick until 2022 at earliest. Even then, there’s a chance that the pick never conveys. If Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves the Bucks in the summer of 2021, they will likely become one of the worst teams in basketball. They’d certainly be bad enough to keep their protected pick. In that sense, the Cavaliers should root for the Greek Freak to stay with the Bucks for the forseeable future. Given the amount of time before the pick can convey and the protections it has even then, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Cavaliers trade the pick themselves sometime in the future for a player that they feel could be a part of their core as they try to return to contention.
It’s also good to see Dellavedova back in the fold. Despite struggling with injuries over the past year, Dellavedova remains a solid, if unspectacular, passer who takes care of the ball while keeping it moving on offense. He’s also a career 38.7% shooter from deep who has never shot below 36.4% from beyond the arc in his career. While not the defensive stopper many have made him out to be, Dellavedova is a smart, physical team defender who always gives good effort on that end. On a team that ranks near or at the bottom of the NBA in assists per game, three point attempts, and defensive rating. Dellavedova should help them in several of their weakest areas.
These are all good things, but nostalgia sometimes causes us to ignore Dellavedova’s flaws as a player. He has never been able to score in the paint, shooting an abysmal 39% on two-point shots during his career. While he gives good effort on defense, he has never been as effective on that end as his reputations would suggest. He’s also making about $9.7 million a year this season and the next, meaning the Cavaliers are paying mid-level money to a guy who has produced like a fringe NBA player since he left Cleveland in 2016. Yet, it’s not on the court where Dellavedova may have his greatest impact.
If and when Hill was dealt, the Cavaliers needed a veteran backup point guard who could spell Collin Sexton off the court, help the rookie develop at practice, and be a mentor off the court. One thing that always struck me about the tear down and rebuild from 2010 to 2014 was the thought that the Cavs may have torn things down a bit too far. When Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were drafted by the team, they still had a few veterans in Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, and Anderson Varejao. At 25 years old, Ramon Sessions was relatively young, but was also a solid backup to Irving. There was some level of veteran support. But by the next season, Parker had retired, Sessions had been traded to the Lakers, Jamison had signed with the Clippers, and Varejao continued to deal with a constant stream of injuries.