Matthew Dellavedova, who took his talents to Sacramento this offseason after signing a one-year deal with the Kings, was once deemed the “Curry stopper” for his efforts in guarding Warriors superstar Steph Curry in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Prior to landing in Sactown, the 32-year-old veteran guard spent his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was a part of those glorious dogfights against the Warriors in the 2015 and 2016 Finals meetings.
The Curry-Dellavedova matchup drew plenty of attention on social media as the world watched the Australian guard defend the Splash Bro.
But at his first media day with the Kings on Monday, Dellavedova explained his side of things and described what it was like to guard the now four-time NBA champ.
"No one person can stop [Curry]. He's just so hard to guard because he never stops moving,” Dellavedova told Kings social media manager Jonathan Bradley. “He's played with Draymond [Green] and Klay [Thompson] and those guys for such a long time that they know where each other's moving, so you try and dodge Draymond screens and [Andrew] Bogut screens.
"That was a task that we had a great team defense with double teaming [Curry] off pick and rolls, so it's definitely a team defensive effort."
Dellavedova's playing time increased significantly as he stepped into a starting role in Game 2 of the 2015 Finals when his teammate at the time, Kyrie Irving, was out with an injury. Although not much of an offensive threat, Dellavedova's lockdown defense earned him plenty of time on the floor alongside LeBron James on the biggest stage in basketball.
And it was his defense that shut down Curry in that second game, as Dellavedova contained the sharpshooter to 0-for-8 shooting, including 0-of-5 from 3-point range, and forced him into four turnovers in their individual matchup. The Cavaliers went on to win the game in overtime to even the series at one game apiece.
In the next game, Dellavedova scored a playoff career-high 20 points as the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors to take a 2–1 series lead, but then fell to Golden State for the next three games to lose the series. In those final three games, Curry cracked the code of the Cavaliers' defense and got back to doing Curry-like things.
Curry averaged 28 points in the remaining three games of the series, shooting a deadly 49 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the arc.
Nonetheless, guarding Curry, regardless of the outcome of the game, is a true testament to one's defensive abilities.
An eight-year veteran, Dellavedova spent the 2021-22 season in the Australian Basketball League before signing with the Kings this summer in his return to the NBA.
Dellavedova has now been given a new task with the Kings, as the team desperately pushes to end their NBA-record 16-year playoff drought. With a bunch of new additions this offseason, Sacramento will definitely utilize Dellavedova's defense, hustle and experience along the way.