Matthew Dellavedova May Fill Kings’ Final Roster Spot, But Quinn Cook Remains an Option

About two weeks ago, at an introductory press conference for new additions Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter, GM Monte McNair characterized the Kings as remaining active in the goal of enhancing their roster.

That could have meant another big move was in the works, but even more likely was the idea of making a series of smaller additions in order to fill out the remaining openings.

Sure enough, the next day, word had it that Sacramento was working out a few players that could potentially supply depth. Former NBA champions Matthew Dellavedova (with the Cavaliers in 2016) and Quinn Cook (with the Warriors in 2018 and the Lakers in 2020) as well as former lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad were all reportedly meeting with the Kings in Las Vegas.

With the recent additions of KZ Okpala and Chima Moneke last week, any need for Muhammad to be a backup to Harrison Barnes has dissipated, though the former UCLA standout is still apparently producing interest among some teams amid his quest to return to the NBA.

Having one open spot remaining and needing a third point guard behind De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, the pairing of the Kings and one of these point guards is still very likely even as little information has come since.

However, the other day might have offered an exception. Jason Anderson of The Sac Bee recently pointed to what Dellavedova’s Australian National Team teammate Andrew Bogut mentioned on his podcast about the likelihood of the Kings signing the former Cavalier and Buck.

“I heard Matthew Dellavedova is being considered to sign with the Sacramento Kings,” Bogut said. “Mike Brown loves him. I have a feeling they might bring him in. They need someone that’s a pro every day. Harrison Barnes is that guy, but it would help to have another guy like that in the locker room with the young guys.”

As Anderson noted, “Bogut correctly predicted the Denver Nuggets would sign countryman Jack White after an impressive showing at the Las Vegas Summer League,” so the “feeling” he references is not without merit.

As Bogut recognized, both Dellavedova’s familiarity with coach Brown and the presence he’d undeniably provide to the locker room back up the idea further.

Mike Brown had just returned to the Cavs organization when it was Dellavedova’s rookie season. It was also the year Anthony Bennett was drafted first overall and a season before LeBron returned. Needless to say, it was not the same team the head coach had managed in his first stint with the franchise.

Still, a 4-7 start to the season was severely disappointing. 

This was mainly because there was a lack of fire within Brown’s squad despite being young and supposedly up-and-coming amid Kyrie Irving’s second year, which disgusted the head coach. In their 8th loss of the season against the Wizards, Brown called out his team– everyone except one player.

“We didn’t compete. We had one guy compete the entire time he was on the floor — Matthew Dellavedova,” Brown declared

At the same time as being a searing critique of the team, it was also a commendation of Dellavedova as having the traits every player should attack a game with.

“I’m going to find guys who are going to play hard,” Brown added in that post-loss presser.

It was the beginning of what would be a career carved out through sheer hustle and heart alone. Undrafted and small, Dellavedova would have been most observers’ last pick to be the Cavs’ most effective rookie, yet compared to Bennett, Sergey Karasev, and Carrick Felix, he unquestionably was

Plus, he was becoming a favorite of Mike Brown among the whole roster.

One night in March, when Kevin Durant was going off on Cleveland, Brown assigned Dellavedova to guard the much taller player. The different, more intense defensive look worked for a bit against Durant, but did not ultimately quell him as he finished with 35 points.

In spite of keeping the game close, Durant and the Thunder won that game, but Mike Brown was quick to acknowledge his guy.

“One thing Delly’s going to do for sure is fight,” Brown observed. “He’s going to get up in your chest and he’s going to bother you, he’s going to show his hands so he’s not going to foul you. He makes you work for points.”

Though the Cavs moved on to hire David Blatt at head coach the following season as LeBron James made his sanctimonious return, it were these very characteristics that Brown loved about the Australian that not only kept Dellavedova in the rotation, but also made him a difference maker on the league’s biggest stage.

In the 2015 Finals, after Kyrie Irving got hurt, Dellavedova put himself on the map and frankly immortalized himself when he used his grit and effort to make things tougher for Stephen Curry, who missed 13 three-pointers and was 0 of 8 against Dellavedova specifically in Golden State’s Game 2 loss. 

Curry maintained that the reserve’s defense did little to affect him, but LeBron expressed otherwise, saying Dellavedova “made Steph work.” Most spectators had trouble denying the difference the effort was making.

He kept up the intensity to a high degree, and so much so that Dellavedova suffered from a series of cramps due to exhaustion that put him in the hospital after Cleveland’s Game 3 victory. It did not keep him from playing in the next game, but he was simply not the same for the rest of the series as the Cavs fell 2 games to 4 against the Warriors. 

As he says in hindsight, he “probably pushed it a little,” but the whole league noticed what he could offer to a team, and they knew how valuable it was.

Being a high intensity player obviously still provides value, but as a depth piece at point guard behind Fox and Mitchell, perhaps the most important thing Dellavedova could provide is the pro factor Bogut pointed to.

As was alluded to, Barnes is the only player over the age of 30. He’s a vet with a championship who is a model for hard work and professionalism. Dellavedova could be the other bookend of stability in that locker room.

The core is young and ready to try and put in years of competitive seasons, but the guidance of a player who has made it in the NBA after coming from overseas, attending a WCC school, and going undrafted could really supply some needed poise and engagement.

Of course, adding to it, the 31 year-old showed in 27 games last season for Melbourne United that he can still play as he averaged 10.6 points on 40.7% from the field and 38% from three, 4.9 assists, 3 rebounds, and just under 1 steal per game.

As a high-energy, high-IQ veteran with championship experience, Dellavedova makes sense, but because the same can be said of Quinn Cook, adding the Aussie to the team isn’t necessarily a sure thing.

The 29 year-old is another player who made a name for himself as a smart, high-motor point guard. Cook played two years with the Warriors when Mike Brown was an assistant before moving on to the Lakers. 

He played both overseas as well as in the G League last season after being picked up by the Stockton Kings. In 11 games for Stockton, Cook averaged 23.5 points on 51.8% overall shooting and 44% from three, 5.9 assists, and 4.9 rebounds.

During Summer League action in Las Vegas Cook was seen sitting with Kings players Davion Mitchell, Chimezie Metu, Domantas Sabonis, and Kevin Huerter, looking like a close-knit group.

In fact, Cook has had shown particularly high regard for the former Baylor Bear that sat to his left. Last February, Cook wrote on Twitter how fond he was of Mitchell and his then-backcourt partner Jared Butler, calling them “the best backcourt in college that [he’s] seen in a while.”

So there are definitely connections between Cook and some of the guys already on the roster that make him as viable a possibility as Dellavedova.

However, Dellavedova was also seen pictured alongside Kings players in Vegas, too. And because he’s received much more praise from Mike Brown—who just recently played a pivotal role in bringing Okpala and Moneke to Sacramento—he may have the higher odds of being signed, especially with Bogut’s suspicions.

There seems to be a pretty good chance Matthew Dellavedova will be the 15th and final member of the roster, but it could just as easily be Quinn Cook.

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[…] [ July 22, 2022 ] Matthew Dellavedova May Fill Kings’ Final Roster Spot, But Quinn Cook Remain… […]