Bucks’ Chameleon: Donte DiVincenzo

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The Milwaukee Bucks made their pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and came away with the most polarizing pick of the First Round. A quick glance at Bucks twitter right after the pick revealed the extreme takes of its most loyal fans. Many looked at it as a massive reach with “better available talent” left on the board while there were some that looked at DiVincenzo as the perfect complement to the Bucks’ resident stars. Even members of the CCC editorial board were divided with some lambasting the GM for falling for recency-bias while a few lauded the pick as the team’s shift to a truly Giannis-centric team.

 

We now take an in-depth look into Donte DiVincenzo’s possible impact on the Bucks’ upcoming season:

OFFENSE:

DiVincenzo comes in with an NBA-ready skillset in having a very good shooting stroke. At 6’5, he also has good size for a combo guard and can play both the Guard and Wing positions on the offensive end. He will be an excellent floor-spacer as opposing teams cannot afford to trail far behind him or leave him open beyond the arc. His elite side to side speed and sprinting ability will also allow him to navigate behind multiple offensive screen-sets that is a staple in Coach Bud’s systems.

DiVincenzo also projects to be a good playmaker as he has good handles and is strong with the ball. He’s also coming in, ready to play NBA-level pick-and-roll basketball. His size will allow him to bully and/or pass over smaller guards, while his speed will cause problems for Bigs who are switched onto him. DiVincenzo also has the rare skill of being able to shoot off the dribble. Coming off a season where he made more than 40% of his 3-pt shots on more than 5 3-pt attempts per game, DiVincenzo will have the license to shoot from the onset.

DiVincenzo is a tough-minded player who relishes taking big shots. Make or miss, DiVincenzo is the type to always come back for more.

DEFENSE:

Among all the players who participated in the draft Combine, few tested better athletically than Donte DiVincenzo. He was first in both the standing jump (34.5 inches) and max vertical (42-inches), top-3 in lateral/side-to-side tests and top-10 in the ¾-court sprint. Add this to DiVincenzo’s physical toughness, size, and fighter’s attitude and the Bucks might be looking at their next 3-and-D star.

DiVincenzo’s relatively short wingspan, however, might limit his positional versatility to the PG, SG and few forward matchups. Nevertheless, his fast hands and ability to stay in front of quick guards bode well for his defensive upside. DiVincenzo’s athleticism will allow him to become an excellent trailer behind screens while his lower body strength will allow him to hold his ground long enough against bigger players to allow help to arrive from the weakside.

DiVincenzo is ultra-competitive and was a bulldog on defense in college. He was often tasked to guard the opposing teams’ main scorers, and he often took individual match-ups personally. Smart and possessing high basketball IQ, DiVincenzo also projects to be able to adjust to various defensive schemes quickly, thereby giving the Bucks’ coaching staff another piece to work with on that end.

ROLE WITH THE BUCKS:

There is no longer any doubt that the Bucks are finally building around the strengths of its lone superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Horst made it clear in his interviews that they wanted someone who can immediately contribute on the floor. With all the top available Bigs gone, the Bucks shifted their sites to obtaining a knock-down shooter who can play tough defense on the other end.

Enter Donte DiVincenzo.

As one of the top 5-10 shooters in the draft, DiVincenzo has a chance to make an immediate impact for one of the lowest ranked 3-pt shooting teams in the league. In DiVincenzo, the Bucks get a player who can stretch the floor well and someone who, given a chance, will shoot a high percentage of 3-pt shots on high volume. They get a gunner who has the ability to be a good playmaker and can provide versatility on their offensive attacks.

DiVincenzo is a microwave scorer who teams need to account for once he crosses half court, because of his ability to shoot off the dribble. His good handles and vision will likewise allow him to be an excellent secondary playmaker behind Bledsoe, Brogdon, Middleton and Antetokounmpo.  With the 17thpick, the Bucks were able to add another player who they can slot at the guard and wing positions without losing speed, strength or athleticism.

DiVincenzo allows the team to play an all-6’5+ defensive lineup with Brogdon, Kmidd, Giannis and Henson. A shooting lineup with Snell, Kmidd, Jabari and Maker. A balanced All-Athlete team with Bledsoe, Snell, Jabari and Giannis. And a multi-positional small-ball lineup with Brogdon, Brown, Kmidd and Giannis. Having DiVincenzo allows Coach Bud the flexibility to mix and match his lineups because of his shooting and defensive upside.

DiVincenzo is also a proven winner. He won 2 state titles in High School before becoming a 2-time NCAA Champion with Villanova. Despite being arguably the second or third best player in their recent NCAA title team, he willingly came off the bench to allow the team to have a more-balanced attack. This role in turn, helped DiVincenzo’s play develop as he learned to take up various roles throughout the season.

The Bucks were not expected to get a star at the 17thspot in the recent draft. They did, however, hoped to get an immediate contributor. Donte DiVincenzo represented the middle ground as the Bucks were able to nab a high-level complementary piece with enough upside due to his elite athleticism.

Positional versatility reigns supreme in today’s NBA. And while the Bucks drafted the player known as the “The Big Ragu” and “The Michael Jordan of Delaware”, odds are great that they’d be fine with him being their next great Chameleon.

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