Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova was just another un-drafted scrub on Lebron’s bench.
But, after Kyrie Irving went down with a season ending knee injury in game one of the NBA Finals, that all changed.
The Aussie boy affectionately known as Delly has become one of the most important players in the series against the Golden State Warriors, which is now tied 2-2.
His jersey sales have gone through the roof on the back of his performances standing in for Irving and he has become a walking internet meme.
The buzz about the Aussie has reminded some of the Linsanity craze in New York, when Jeremy Lin had a monster stretch that made him the talk of the basketball world.
People knew a little bit about the nuggety Aussie after he was labelled dirty, following clashes with Chicago’s Taj Gibson and Atlanta’s Al Horford and Kyle Korver – the latter left with a season ending injury – earlier in the playoffs.
But, despite another blow up with Golden State’s Draymond Green in the finals, that has largely been forgotten, with the 24-year-old recognised for his gritty determination and will to dive on loose balls.
The dirty work, rather than being dirty.
After playing just nine minutes in game one, Delly was called upon to play 42 minutes in the Cavs series tying overtime win in game two, scoring nine points to go with five rebounds, three steals and a pair of clutch free throws.
His game two performance was ok, but he was a monster in game three. In one of the more remarkable playoff performances, Delly dropped 20 points with five boards and four assists, coupled with a brilliant off-balance and-one and then a brilliant diving ball recovery that effectively sealed the Cavs win, putting them up 2-1 in the series.
So popular has he been that sportsbet.com.au have made another one of their amusing novelty markets.
The bookie’s Christian Jantzen says the boy from Maryborough’s talents are wasted on the court.
“We believe the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star can achieve much more than an NBA Championship ring, like receiving a knighthood at $9 or even becoming our Prime Minister, which is priced at $51,” Jantzen said.
“Before Delly makes it to Canberra, he could easily be the next Mayor of his home town Maryborough ($21) and some would say he’s already an Australian ambassador to the USA ($21).
“The 24 year old is odds on ($1.80) to win an ESPY, and is a $2 chance to get on set with Jimmy Kimmel and talk some dribble.
“We’ve seen how easy it is for Delly, to score but he’ll be shooting the lights out if he manages to snare one of the Kardashians at $5.”
We don’t think the Warriors were ready for this Delly.
Matter of fact, we don’t really think any body was ready for his explosive playoff performances, but it was damn pleasant.
And we love how he looks in a dress.
Delly deserves a cuppa
Black, like his basketball soul.
That’s how Delly likes his cup of coffee.
He played like a straight killer in game two and we reckon coach Blatt would have been serving him the coffee.
This kind of nike promo is usually reserved for the Lebron’s of the world, but it’s Delly’s turn.
We were all witnesses to his greatness in game three, but can he keep it up for the rest of the series?
Maybe not, especially after a putrid showing in game four where the Cavs lost by double digits to the Warriors.