This undrafted Aussie makes just $800,000 and he's now one of the Cavaliers' most important players

Sixty prospects heard their names called in the 2013 NBA Draft, Matthew Dellavedova was not one of them. In fact, Dellavedova wasn’t even invited to the NBA Draft Combine held in Chicago.

Yet, as the Cleveland Cavaliers set to square off against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight, Dellavedova has become just as, if not more, valuable to his team than any of the 13 point guards taken in 2013 draft.

Out of the 13 point guards that were drafted, three have played primarily in the NBA’s Development League, three play professionally in Europe, four are backup point guards playing in limited capacity on perennial losing teams, two are starters, and only one is playing significant minutes on a playoff team — Dennis Schroeder on the Hawks.

Dellavedova’s former college coach at St. Mary’s, Randy Bennett, told’s Terry Pluto that he believed the 6’3″ point guard from Australia should have been drafted, “I’m telling you, he was a better player than some of those guys drafted ahead of him.”

Well, Dellavedova is certainly proving that now. After going undrafted, the Cavaliers signed him to a two-year $US1.3 million contract, which pays him just $US816 thousand this season.

After averaging only 19 minutes in his first two regular seasons, Dellavedova has proven to be invaluable during this year’s postseason — playing significant minutes due to a hobbled Kyrie Irving.

Out of the Cavaliers’ nine-man rotation (not including Kevin Love who is injured, and Mike Miller who has played in only three games this postseason), Dellavedova is second in both field goal and three-point percentage, at 46.5 and 39.3 per cent respectively. He has also played admirably on defence, which was the biggest criticism against him leading up to the draft.

In the Cavalier’s Game 6 series-clinching victory over the Chicago Bulls last week, Dellavedova not only led the team in points with 19, shooting 7-11 from the field and 3-6 from behind the arc, he also held Derrick Rose to just 14 points, shooting 44 per cent and missing all three of his three-point attempts.

“[Dellavedova] can play,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. “First of all he understands his role and where his opportunities are. He has no fear. He makes the right plays. He defends his man every moment he’s on the court.

“He knows who he’s playing with. He knows where the ball should go. He feeds off the opportunities that are created by him for the other guys. When you ask specific pick-and-roll actions, he makes plays. He competes.

“That kid’s a competitor. He’s not where he is without being a competitor.”

He’s not just a competitor. On a team featuring LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, he’s become one of the Cavaliers’ most important players.

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