When the Cleveland Cavaliers were rolling during the regular season, one of the primary concerns that could be heard on local talk radio was, "what if we have to rely on Matthew Dellavedova in a key spot during the postseason?" Although I was still a fan of Dellavedova all season, many Cavaliers fans were not, feeling he would be a liability at crunch time.
Flashfoward to May, and Dellavedova has been in the headlines for several of the Cavaliers' last four playoff games. None of the stories have been detrimental to the Cavaliers, but the most recent game has him at the center of attention as the sports world tries to answer the question, "is Dellavedova a 'dirty player?'"
I have to laugh at anybody who would even think that Dellavedova is a dirty player. For Al Horford to complain about disrupting the 'brotherhood' of the NBA is absolutely comical -- so being a scrappy, hustling player (Dellavedova) disrupts the 'brotherhood,' but it's socially acceptable to throw an elbow and drive a player down, only to cry, "woe is me" after the fact?
I've read a few places say that they think Dellavedova should be labeled a borderline dirty player not because any of his incidents on a case-by-case basis were bad, but because he's a common denominator in at least three recent incidents. In what kind of sensible world does that logic make sense? What it does tell me is that Dellavedova's spirited play agitates the opposition, and those opponents are too weak-minded to keep their cool. That's a win for Dellavedova and the Cavaliers.
With all of that said, though, let's shift the topic to the Cleveland Browns. The game of football and basketball are completely different sports, but if we're to think of Dellavedova as a player who can get under the opposition's skin on a regular basis, who plays that same type of role on the Browns? Or, who do you think should play that role?
One guy could be SS Donte Whitner, who certainly went at it with Buffalo Bills fans all of last season. My vote would go to NT Phil Taylor, though. He was in an incident where RB Ray Rice supposedly spit at him a few years ago. Also a few years ago, Taylor delivered what Steelers players felt was a cheap shot on one of their offensive lineman, but the tape showed who the real dirty players were.