Fit-again Dellavedova primed for NBL debut

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Matthew Dellavedova has laid the platform for a potentially career-defining NBL season by working his way into better physical condition than he was during the Boomers' historic Olympics bronze medal campaign.

The Melbourne United guard had his time in the NBA cut short after concussion, neck injuries and a bout of appendicitis limited him to just 13 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season - but those issues now appear long gone.

The 31-year-old played a role for the Boomers in Tokyo and has since hit the ground running in Melbourne, where he wants to prove he has what it takes to reignite his NBA career.

"You can ask him and he'd tell you that he's in much better shape than he was heading into the Olympic campaign," United coach Dean Vickerman said.

"He looks great.

"We eased him into it but we've done a good job in managing him to get to a point where he's ready to play 28-30 minutes (a game) right now."

Dellavedova looked sharp during Monday's practice session and will make his first appearance for Melbourne in Friday's NBL Blitz opener against the New Zealand Breakers.

United will rotate their squad in the second pre-season series game against Sydney, shielding their hand ahead of the regular-season opener against the Kings on December 5.

Dellavedova leads a stacked United back-court alongside Boomers teammate Chris Goulding and fellow Olympian Caleb Agada.

Renowned for his defensive attributes, the tough-as-nails guard will be given freedom in United's offence to further improve his game.

"He offers so many different levels," Vickerman said.

"One of those is work ethic and his basketball IQ is something that everybody at our club is going to benefit from.

"There's a warrior in him and he's just never going to quit, which fits in with the culture of this club, and offensively I think he's really growing.

"There's more opportunity here for him (offensively) than he's probably had in the NBA over the last few years. He's developing that area."

Vickerman, who was already contracted for the upcoming season, has signed a two-year extension to keep at the helm until 2024.

He led United to championships in 2018 and 2021, following a successful stint at New Zealand.

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