Milwaukee Bucks: All-Defense could be in Donte DiVincenzo’s future

(Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images) /

Having been a key component in the Milwaukee Bucks’ top-ranked defense, could Donte DiVincenzo find himself on All-Defensive teams in the future?

Of the many ways he’s been able to make his presence felt throughout the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2019-20 season, it was Donte DiVincenzo‘s work on the defensive end that was particularly eye-catching.

DiVincenzo’s boundless energy and freakish athleticism was one of the many alluring traits that stood out when the Bucks drafted him 17th overall nearly two years ago in the 2018 NBA Draft.

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And while Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has been preaching discipline and building a sound defensive unit, which has been the lynchpin to their standing as the best defensive team for two years running, DiVincenzo’s free-wheeling has been quite the distinctive feature on that side of the ball.

DiVincenzo proved to be an absolute pest around the ball as his ability to swipe into passing lanes led him compiling 2.1 steals by per-36 minute standards and a 2.7 steal percentage. Both of those marks placed DiVincenzo sixth in the league in both of those categories, per

And not for nothing, but DiVincenzo’s 42-inch vertical leap certainly comes in handy when he either digs down and flies into contest a shot or putback at the basket or rises up to pull down heavily contested rebounds on the defensive end. That led to The Big Ragu pulling down 6.1 defensive rebounds per-36 minutes and a tallying a 1.2 block percentage this year.

All of these very on-brand plays for DiVincenzo and the endless hustle and activity he brings to the court help him to stand out in his own way within Milwaukee’s league-leading defense. Per, DiVincenzo has the third-lowest defensive rating of players who have seen meaningful playing time this season, only trailing teammates Wesley Matthews and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

For a second-year guard to do the things he provides on a nightly basis points to his aptitude to make winning, impactful plays as Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer talked about with Kane Pitman in a piece for the Sporting News earlier this year:

"“We’ve been saying it since he got here, he’s a winner. I’m sure somewhere back in his childhood he got it put into him and all through high school and then we give Villanova a ton of credit and Jay Wright does a great job, he’s just all about winning and I think he understands at a very young age at a very high level what’s important to winning.”"

After digesting all of this, one can only wonder whether DiVincenzo’s whirling dervish-like defensive efforts can one day lead him to being named to an All-Defensive team.

I’m sure there weren’t many Bucks fans who were willing to entertain this question nearly two years ago when DiVincenzo first arrived to Milwaukee (myself included). But with this being DiVincenzo’s first full NBA season, his tantalizing play on that side of the court has firmly landed him in this kind of territory and projection.

Perhaps we see that as soon as this year, provided that the season resumes in some way and the NBA carries out their awards ballot like usual. It speaks volumes to DiVincenzo’s impact that he has been able to make such an imprint on a historically elite defense like the Bucks crafted this season.

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The Bucks’ current infrastructure, both in personnel and schematically, have allowed for DiVincenzo to utilize his natural gifts and high basketball IQ to his advantage, and carve out a critical role on the Bucks. And Milwaukee is only starting to reap the rewards as a result.