Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo’s continued development is crucial

Following a stellar sophomore season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo’s continued development is crucial moving forward.

After being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo did not exactly start his career off on the right foot.

The guard appeared in just 27 games during his rookie campaign before a heel injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season in late March of 2019. DiVincenzo’s stats were not the most eye-catching as he averaged 4.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 15.2 minutes per game with .403/.265/.750 shooting splits.

Many expected Donte to have a bounce-back year in 2019-20, and he delivered.

Now appearing in 66 games this 2019-20 season, the 23-year-old averaged 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 23.0 minutes per game with shooting splits of .455/.336/.733. DiVincenzo also showed improvements defensively, leading the team in steals this season at 1.3 per game.

As good as he was, Donte periodically showed growing pains throughout his sophomore campaign, none more apparent than in during the season restart down in the bubble. DiVincenzo struggled mightily to regain any pre-hiatus momentum offensively, averaging 8.0 points on 34.4 percent field goal shooting and 20.2 percent 3-point shooting throughout his seven seeding game appearances.

Despite his late season woes, it was a fantastic leap from year one to year two for Donte DiVincenzo as he upped his production in almost every statistical category across the board. Now, taking another step forward in his development is crucial for year three, as the guard will likely once again see an increased role.

Heading into the offseason, Milwaukee’s guard rotation is uncertain as it could be. Eric Bledsoe is expected to become a trade candidate and it seems justifiable to believe he will not be back. With Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Pat Connaughton, and Sterling Brown all eligible to hit free agency as well, the Bucks’ guard depth could thin out this offseason.

However things transpire from there, Milwaukee will have Donte DiVincenzo as insurance at the guard position. If the former Villanova product is indeed going to see a more substantial role next season, there are certain aspects of his game that he needs to continue working on.

What should Donte DiVincenzo look to improve upon heading into his third season with the Milwaukee Bucks?

If DiVincenzo will get an increased role, improving his 3-point shooting consistency should be a top priority. Starting with his shooting, the guard shot 56.7 percent on shots inside the arc this season but connected on just 33.6 percent of his 247 total attempts outside of it.

It was a 7.1 percent increase compared to his rookie campaign and a similar breakthrough next season would be welcoming. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer implemented Milwaukee’s “let it fly” mantra because of the need for shooters surrounding superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Given how much time Donte spent alongside the two-time MVP this season, improving that 3-point shot is crucial.

Per NBA Advanced Stats, DiVincenzo shared the court with Antetokounmpo in the regular season for a total of 880 minutes. That was the most time he spent alongside any teammate, and the pair are certainly going to get more run together next season. To maximize this one-two punch, Donte needs to get that 3-point percentage up a few ticks to fully maximize his fit alongside the back-to-back MVP.

Offensive consistency has also been an issue for DiVincenzo. Although he is not a score-first guard by nature, the capability is there. For reference, in those seven seeding games Donte participated in, he reeled off scoring totals of 10, nine, 11, two, one, six, and 17 before eventually bouncing back late in the Bucks’ postseason. This was a recurring theme throughout the season, and with the ball going to be in his hands more next season, it is something the Bucks would like to seem him clean up.

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Donte DiVincenzo has showed significant promise on both ends of the floor in his second season, and his further development will only see him continue ascending. The 23-year-old’s ceiling is unknown at this point, but there is no doubt that the potential is there for him to be valuable contributor