It seems that the gritty play of our national basketball team members may be celebrated here in Australia and respected across the globe but it’s certainly not appreciated in the NBA.
Matthew Dellavedova, the 25-year-old Victorian who played a key role in Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers charge to the NBA Finals last year, has been named the league’s dirtiest player in a poll by the Los Angeles Times.
The Times conducted an anonymous poll of 24 NBA coaches, assistants and players, asking who the dirtiest player was. Dellavedova, the point guard whose perseverance and ability to come up with freak plays, won 13 of those votes.
While 24 people voted, some voted more than once, according to the Times. Dellavedova’s fellow Australian NBA star, Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors, came in third with five votes as the league’s dirtiest player.
The only non-Australian in the top three happened to be Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams, from New Zealand, resulting in a trans-Tasman trifecta.
“Wow! Delly and Bogut are both from Australia,” the Times reported an Eastern Conference player as saying.
“How about that! Delly is kind of dirty and he does cross the line. But I don’t even think it’s even close with Bogut. Dellavedova is a little bit wild and out of control.”
“He’s as dirty as they come,” a Western Conference coach said. “When you’re hurting people, that is not OK.”
Dellavedova came under fire for two plays in particular, where he dived to grab loose balls and injured the knee and ankle of two separate opponents.
Bogut, whose Golden State Warriors side won last year’s NBA title after overcoming the Cavaliers in the Finals series, was also given a smackdown by at least one player who voted in the poll.
“He crosses the line with some of the stuff he does. I think he hurts guys,” the player, from the NBA’s Western conference, reportedly said.
“He doesn’t always do it, but he goes across the line. What Bogut does is very calculating. He knows what he’s doing. His elbows, the way sets screens, grabbing and holding guys.”
Although our Boomers players seem to be “swimming against the tide” when it comes to being popular in NBA player circles they are certainly appreciated by their teammates with Bogut and Delly both being regularly touted by their teammates as a big part of their teams success.
“I know he’s tough as nails and the one thing about Delly is he never makes one mistake. I’m so happy for him and proud of his performance in the absence of Kyrie.” James told ESPN.