Injuries have been a recurring storyline for the Milwaukee Bucks throughout the first portion of the 2021-22 NBA season, but it looks like reinforcements will be on the way soon enough.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bucks have assigned Donte DiVincenzo to the Wisconsin Herd, their G-League affiliate. This is a common move that teams make when one of their players is nearing a return from injury. The Golden State Warriors assigned Klay Thompson to their G-League team this season as he prepares to make his long-awaited return, for reference.
DiVincenzo suffered a season-ending injury in Game 3 of Milwaukee’s first round demolition of the Miami Heat in last year’s postseason and underwent ankle surgery in June. The guard has been on the sidelines all season as he rehabilitates, and it looks like he is getting close to making his debut, which Charania notes could come in December. Fans speculated that this announcement was on the horizon as DiVincenzo was seen ramping up his on-court activity recently. Following this announcement, DiVincenzo is officially nearing a return as he will practice down with the Herd to get some extra reps.
What does Donte DiVincenzo’s return mean for the Milwaukee Bucks?
Getting DiVincenzo back will be a massive boost for the Bucks. While he will not reclaim his spot in the starting five in all likelihood, the guard will undeniably be a crucial piece off the bench following his career year in 2020-21. DiVincenzo had a career year leading up to the injury as he posted new career bests in points, rebounds, assists, rebounds, minutes, and 3-point percentage as he played the most prominent role in his career. While it might take him time to get back up to speed, those attributes will be helpful throughout the season.
Milwaukee’s second unit has been among its weaker areas this season. The bench currently ranks 27th in points (29.5), 29th in assists (5.2), 16th in rebounds (15.7), and 28th in steals (2.0), making this unit one of the least productive in the association. A player like DiVincenzo, who can make an impact in all of these areas, will help the champs bump these numbers up a few ticks.
It will be interesting to see where DiVincenzo fits into the new rotation. The Bucks have an array of talented players at the guard position behind Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen. Pat Connaughton is currently having a career year off the bench, George Hill is providing quality minutes as the backup point guard, Rodney Hood is still getting a chance to prove himself, and the front office just made the surprising move to bring back veteran marksman Wesley Matthews. Mike Budenholzer does not have any shortage of guards to work with, but he will certainly make room for DiVincenzo.
The biggest thing is that DiVincenzo is indeed progressing toward a return. There was some initial concern when the Bucks signed Matthews that perhaps they were worried DiVincenzo could be out longer than anticipated, but now it is clear that is not the case. For a team that has lost a few players to injury already this season, it is refreshing to be welcoming one back.
DiVincenzo should help bolster Milwaukee’s title chances whenever he returns, which could be this month.