The Delaware MJ (while a stretch, is quite catchy).
Donte DiVincenzo has the utmost potential to become one of the best draft picks in the 2018 class, clear as day.
Drafted alongside the likes of Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Trae Young, the 6-5 shooting guard came out of Villanova with a nose for the big moment. The sophomore absolutely showed out in the NCAA tournament, capped off with a Final Four MOP nod after putting up 31 points in their drubbing of Michigan.
Acting mostly as his coming-out party, DiVincenzo’s college career was best described as ‘side show,’ as he held down the Wildcats’ sixth-man role. He earned the Big East’s recognition of being the conference’s best sixth man in his final collegiate season, while averaging 13/5/4 on the year.
Earning a spot in the draft, much less the first round, was merely an afterthought for the two guard coming into his sophomore campaign. But after his performance throughout the season and tournament, he took advantage of basking in the limelight and declared for the draft, eventually being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with their 17th overall selection in this past year’s annual talent show.
The Bucks, who had their first go-around at drafting with a new coach (Mike Budenholzer) and a new general manager (Jon Horst), the selection was marred with rightful skepticism, especially with confirmed reports about how the team’s plan of trading down was leaked to the media, squashing that move.
It is safe to say that so far, White Donte has solidly filled his role on the team as an energy-providing, behind-the-arc flame (not because of his hair), a much needed addition for Bud’s system. Donte DiVincenzo also provides an important role for the squad, as he leads the team dance breakdowns after player introductions for most games.
This Bucks team is quite a fun group to watch, even without considering the night-in, night-out Greek Freak highlights plastered over SportsCenter. MKE had been plagued in mediocrity the past few years, something that (spoiler alert) was mainly caused by the toxic head coach of Jason Kidd hindering Giannis’ growth in a poorly-designed system.
Bud has been an absolute godsend for this franchise, one that needed a sense of stability at the helm after the tumultuous times they have undergone. DiVincenzo is doing more than his part in that category, even if his stats don’t tell the same story.
Averaging just under 17 minutes per game, the rookie is putting up ratings of 111 for OFFRTG and 97.5 for DEFRTG, putting him 76th and 49th in the league, respectively. His net rating becomes 13.4, 24th-best in the season so far too, Even though he has only played in 19 games, the 21-year-old is showing experience beyond his years in Bud’s system, a token to his quick development and understanding of the game.
Coming out of school, Donte DiVincenzo mostly got knocks for being a one-dimensional shooter, someone who was mostly an energy guy, someone who, due to coming off the bench, did not possess the skills to be a regular contributor in the league, and other fuel for the fire comments
His assist percentage is 10.7, and his 1.63 assist/turnover ratio are both areas that need improvement if he is to see regular minutes on the court, but his early-season progression has Bucks fans finally happy with a first-round selection (see D.J. Wilson).
More than just his nicknames, the Big Ragu has already began the carving of his niche in the league, something rookies are hard-pressed to do early on. He seems to also have earned the trust of the coaching staff, as he has been asked to provide key minutes for the team in various situations.
He just needs to become a bit more consistent, but his ability to cut, slash and decipher the defense is exactly what Milwaukee needs to surround Antetokounmpo with to be successful. DD also has been tasked with running the point at times, something that he will become more accustomed to as his playing time becomes constant.