Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo faces uphill climb for playing time

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 28: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 28: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Despite the departure of Malcolm Brogdon this summer, Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo faces an uphill climb to earn playing time this coming season.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo has his work cut out for him when it comes to earning playing time this upcoming season.

Though one of his immediate competitors for the shooting guard position, Malcolm Brogdon, was moved this offseason, DiVincenzo may still find himself quite a way down the depth chart to start the year.

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DiVincenzo’s play was a mixed bag during his rookie season. Though he showed some flashes of talent at times, his overall performances left a bit to be desired.

In the 27 games that he played last season before getting injured, DiVincenzo logged an average of 15.2 minutes per game while averaging 4.9 points, 2.9 boards, and 1.1 assists. He shot 40.1 percent on his shot attempts from the field, and was just 26.1 percent from three on over three attempts per game.

DiVincenzo vacillated between being a fringe player to a role player depending on how he was playing in a given stretch of games. His inconsistency with his shot from deep was a major determining factor in how much time he saw on the floor.

The Bucks needed floor-spacers playing in their backcourt to open up things for Giannis Antetokounmpo and others to operate. When Donte wasn’t hitting his shot, defenders could lay off of him and help cover someone else.

After DiVincenzo got hurt, Sterling Brown got a chance to step up in his absence. He, at times, excelled in his new role, especially toward the end of the season when he began to find his stride. Brown looked better in his best runs than DiVicenzo ever did, though that’s to be expected from a player with more NBA experience. Brown will likely have the edge on the depth chart to start the year because of this.

Not only has Sterling Brown remained on the team through the offseason, though, the Milwaukee Bucks also added or retained a few other players who figure to be direct competitors to DiVincenzo in the back-court.

Milwaukee retained George Hill in the summer on a three-year contract. Hill split significant time last season between the point guard spot, where he was the second option behind starter Eric Bledsoe, and the shooting guard spot.

As Hill got hot in the postseason, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer did everything he could to get him major minutes on the floor, especially with Bledsoe and others struggling to hit their shot. Hill’s ability to facilitate the offense, when needed, and to space the floor made him arguably the Bucks’ best rotation player in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this past spring.

Hill figures to get most of his minutes at the point guard spot this coming season. However, it’s not difficult to imagine him being used at the two guard as well if he and Eric Bledsoe are rolling on a given night.

The Bucks also added sharpshooters Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews via free agency. Both are very good from distance, especially when compared to what DiVincenzo provided last season. They’re likely to feature in significant minutes at the two guard spot as well, particularly Matthews who will likely enter the season as the starting two guard.

All of this will make playing time hard to come by for DiVincenzo. Barring an injury to someone at either guard position, it’s not clear where his playing time will come from right now.

If DiVincenzo is going to figure into the rotation more consistently this season, he’ll need to improve on his shot from three. He’ll also need to build off of the flashes he showed when it came to finishing at the rim, facilitating the offense, and on the defensive end where he played some solid defense in spurts.

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He may never develop into a starter on a good team, but DiVincenzo has the skill set, if he finds his shot, to be a valuable rotation player. Having a strong pre-season will absolutely be necessary if he’s going to have any chance of finding his way into meaningful minutes to start the regular season. We’ll see if he’s up to the task.