Bittersweet symphony: Matthew Dellavedova conducting his best work from the sideline

NEW YORK -- It's been a bittersweet year for Matthew Dellavedova so far.

His team, the Milwaukee Bucks, sit second in the East, 3.5 games behind leaders Toronto, but Dellavedova has played in just half of the Bucks' games, being a DNP-CD (Did Not Play - Coach's Decision) eleven times.

The Australian is taking it all in as part and parcel of being an NBA player, though.

Dellavedova, who is in his sixth season overall and third in Milwaukee, has found other ways to lead Milwaukee's young roster. Whether it's giving teammates advice, speaking up during film sessions, or just yelling encouragement from the bench, Delly remains a positive influence.

"Obviously you always wanna be out there and it's definitely easier to lead when you're playing, but I can still lead from the bench and I'm always trying to help out when it's something I see out there or just some general encouragement," Dellavedova said after the team's narrow loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

If you look at the stat sheets, yes, his numbers are down on his career averages. That's what happens when his minutes have largely come towards the end of big blowout wins. When he has played, however, he's shown that typical Dellavedova grit and intensity.

Having guys like Dellavedova on the roster is very valuable, according to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.

"Delly's leadership and his voice -- in all kind of situations, practices, film sessions, timeouts -- having Delly around is great," Budenholzer said pregame.

"He's got a lot of great insight, and he's been in deep playoff runs, great playoff teams; guys like that are very valuable."

The lack of playing time is not too unfamiliar for Dellavedova -- despite helping the Cavaliers win a championship in 2016, his minutes with the team dwindled at certain stages.

While other players may have reacted poorly in the situation that he currently finds himself in, Delly looks back to some former teammates he says were able to lead teams without playing heavy minutes, as examples of how to lead an inexperienced team.

"As we do have such a young team I've gotta be more vocal, but I've been around people who have led really well without playing a whole lot; James Jones is probably the best at it, with how much experience he had," Dellavedova says.

"He would say the tough things when they need to be said. Mike Miller as well when I played with him that one year. You can still be effective being a leader even if you're not playing as much."

Teammate Eric Bledsoe says when Delly talks, the players listen.

"His voice speaks volumes in this locker room," Bledsoe tells ESPN. "He's definitely a leader here, we love him. He definitely speaks a lot in this locker room."

Milwaukee are hoping that Giannis Antetokounmpo's sensational play continues through the entire season as the team will look to win it's first playoff series since 2001. Thon Maker believes the Bucks are a "special" team, and Dellavedova agrees with his teammate, although he feels like the team could tighten a few things up.

"I think at our best we've shown that we can can play some really high-level basketball," he says.

"We've just got to do that a lot more consistently against all teams. Lately, for whatever reason, we've been taking the foot off the pedal a little bit and teams are too good in the NBA to let them back in."

Championships aren't won in December, Dellavedova understand that better anyone on the Bucks roster, and has made a point of letting the team know what it's going to take to win.

"Just [that] we have to get better," he says.

"It's a long season and we have to be a lot better team in April when the playoffs start than what we are now if we want to go deep. We just have to keep working and be consistent."