Milwaukee Bucks: 3 goals for Donte DiVincenzo ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 20 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Entering his fourth year with the Milwaukee Bucks, I still believe in Donte DiVincenzo.

I say this at the risk of sounding unjournalistic or overtly biased and impassioned, but I’ve believed in the Big Ragu’s abilities ever since the Milwaukee Bucks drafted him 17th overall in 2017. I genuinely believe he is an important part of this Bucks team’s long-term future moving forward, whether they actually think so themselves or not.

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This unabashed belief is also why I feel I have the objectivity to say that Donte may have some lost ground to gain back this season post-injury.

Whether there is truth to the whispers of his numbered days, the fact of the matter is that DiVincenzo may have to compete for minutes again for the first time since he was drafted.

Bucks fans should know what Donte can do and what the Bucks were missing for three straight playoff series. He was—and is—an elite guard defender and rebounder for his size in just his third year in the NBA. Popular basketball discourse has largely overlooked his injury (looking at you, “Hospital Ring” Twitter) and how that affected the Bucks in the postseason.

With the addition of Grayson Allen and Rodney Hood—both fine shooting wings in their own right—to this Bucks team, it’s not hard to speculate that DiVincenzo’s days as a Milwaukee Buck might be numbered. He’s had more than his fair share of season-ending injuries up until this point, and much has also been said about his offensive limitations thus far in his career.

Here are a few goals for DiVincenzo to look to achieve this coming season, from the perspective of one of his staunchest defenders.

Donte DiVincenzo simply needs to be a better scorer for the Milwaukee Bucks, hard stop.

There’s no avoiding it: DiVincenzo needs to put it together as a scorer on all three levels this coming season with the Bucks. His decent 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game belie this reality.

For so long, the Bucks’ fifth starter always looked like he was on the cusp of something great as the team’s shooting guard of the future post-Malcolm Brogdon. Unfortunately, he’s had all the chances and the reps by now, and he just hasn’t broken through on the offensive end.

After a fiery shooting start to begin the 2021 NBA Season where he shot a stellar 63.3 percent from 3-point land in his first six games, DiVincenzo’s shooting froze to a putrid 24.4 percent in the six games after. The slump was on from there; he had high points every now and then, but his scoring generally crumbled as he struggled to string together enough games of decent offensive production.

Part of this was due to his poor finishing. Donte found that when his outside shot wasn’t falling, he couldn’t rely on his inside touch, either.

According to Cleaning the Glass, Donte only made 54 percent of his shot attempts at the rim, a number that meant he was only better in that area than 18 percent of players in his position. It didn’t help that a good 31 percent of all his field-goal attempts came at the rim, where his efficiency has seemingly steadily declined over the years. When he’s fouled, his 71.8 percent shooting clip from the free-throw line is also not going to cut it.

It’s a compelling problem to have. When he drives strong to the cup, the guard has shown that he can absolutely penetrate opposing defenses and put them in tough situations. Unfortunately, he seems to take the tougher shots even in the easiest of opportunities.

And so despite his overall skillset on a basketball court, his impact on the offense was largely peripheral this year. He battled inconsistency on all three levels of scoring and just couldn’t get anything to stick in the long term. In spite of his steadier diet of shot attempts as a starter, he just looked impotent out there for most of the past year.

Even when he was locking up the likes of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro in the playoffs, his offense on the other end was forced and deflated. In the first three games of that series, DiVincenzo shot a collective 2-for-12 or 16.7 percent from deep and 3-for-16 overall against the Miami Heat.

Fortunately for him, opposing teams still seemed to respect his shot enough to stay home on him and close out to the perimeter when they didn’t, leading to better opportunities and overall production for the Bucks as a whole.

Per PBP Stats, the Bucks still outscored the opposition by +7.36 on a 120.23 offensive rating with DiVincenzo playing versus +3.66 and 114.92 points per 100 possessions when he was on the bench. On the other hand, he hardly made them pay when he found himself open to let it fly.

His scoring leaves so much more to be desired. But his overall offensive stats show there’s also more he can do besides putting the ball in the basket.