Milwaukee Bucks: 3 non-stars that will dictate playoff success in 2022

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 05: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 05: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 20 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

While everyone is looking ahead to the beginning of the 2021-22 NBA season, I wanted to look ahead even further than that. I want to start taking a way-too-early look at how the Milwaukee Bucks will find success in the playoffs. Sure, we just finished the 2020-21 playoffs not too long ago, but with so many new faces on the team, there are new possibilities.

Playoff success obviously starts and ends with your stars, and of course, how the leading trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday will determine how far the Bucks can go in the playoffs. But that wouldn’t be a very interesting article, now would it?

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Role players play a very large part in the success (or lack thereof) of a team’s playoff fortunes. Bucks fans saw this numerous times throughout the championship run, from Bryn Forbes’ ridiculous shooting performance in a first round sweep against the Miami Heat to Bobby Portis’ energy and buckets against the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks don’t win a championship without championship performances from their role players as well.

So with a new crop of role players (as well as some key role players returning), it’s time to start thinking about which ones will play the biggest roles in the playoffs. The benefit for the Bucks is that they have a good amount of high-quality role players, so there are multiple options for who could step up in any given playoff series.

Although the stars will get all the attention for the Bucks in their upcoming title defense playoff run, the role players are the ones who will swing the series one way or another.

Donte DiVincenzo is a player who will dictate playoff success for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021-22

Despite Donte DiVincenzo‘s playoff run being cut extremely short last year, he is still a player who will have a big impact on the upcoming playoffs. A lot of the reason for that is because of the injury he suffered that cut his playoffs short. While the Bucks got through last year without him, his health and ability to play at a similar level to last year will be crucial this year.

The Bucks indeed took steps this offseason to help cover themselves if DiVincenzo has trouble recovering from his surgery. In particular, the addition of Grayson Allen allows the Bucks to have an insurance policy if that were to happen. However, DiVincenzo is the better defender and rebounder, so he is very crucial to what the Bucks want to do on defense.

In his first season as a full-time starter, DiVincenzo fit in extremely well with the Bucks’ star trio. According to, lineups with those four players had a net rating of +12.2 in 590 minutes, which is in the top 15 of any four-man lineup combination with at least 400 minutes together in the entire NBA.

Aside from his defense, DiVincenzo was also a very valuable floor spacer for the starting unit, as he shot nearly 38 percent from three on over five attempts per game. The issue was that his percentage at the rim plummeted from nearly 66 percent in 2019-20 to around 57 percent last season. His ability to finish plays at the basket will be a huge determining factor in how good he’ll be in a playoff series, just like his (inconsistent at times) 3 point shooting will be.

It’s easy to say that since the Bucks won the championship without DiVincenzo, they can do it again with the additions they made. But it sure would be a lot nicer to have one of your most important starters available and playing at a high level. DiVincenzo has plenty of reasons to be motivated this year, and if he’s right, then he’ll have a big impact on Milwaukee’s playoff success.