Before Villanova went on to cruise towards their second championship in three years under head coach Jay Wright, nobody from a national standpoint knew who Donte DiVincenzo really was. However, as we know, that all changed once the lights shined brightest in March on Villanova’s super sub.
Over the Wildcats’ tournament run, DiVincenzo averaged 15 points while hitting three-pointers at an absurd rate of 63.2% (12/19). In their National Championship victory over Michigan, DiVincenzo was the hero torching them for 31 points but Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson did their part, too.
Those heroics not only blew up the image of DiVincenzo but his brilliance brought more NBA eyeballs his way. An impressive showing at the combine proved the DiVincenzo is not only a shooter but also a top-flight athlete. His never say die mentality at Villanova showed through in 5-on-5 action often.
Also, from a physical standpoint, 6’5” 205 lb. DiVincenzo stood out. He belonged alongside the other talent that was out competing who are projected in the 15-40 range. Not only that but he was one of the best performers of the whole week in Chicago earlier this month.
During his third season at Villanova, DiVincenzo stuffed the stat sheet collecting 16.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists (+1.76 AST/TO), and 1.3 steals per 36 minutes.
Ironically enough, DiVincenzo is one of only five guard prospects in this year’s draft —Brunson (Villanova), Landry Shamet (Wichita State), Shake Milton (SMU), and Aaron Holiday (UCLA) — who amassed true shooting percentages above 60, PERs above 20, and carry a +20 AST% while also hitting 40% or above on 3s. All five fall within the late first, early second round range so at that point it’s likely preference on varying boards how they are shuffled around.
After he received glowing feedback and likely first round guarantees, DiVincenzo decided to stay in the draft. His shooting and playmaking upside are coming along at the perfect time.
According to The Stepien’s shot charts, DiVincenzo proved he had three level scorer upside on the next level by putting together impressive numbers across the board. He can be a little too streaky shooting in moments, but he still managed to convert 61.2% at the rim, 40% from mid range, and an eye-popping 43.3% on corner 3s. From his 40.1% average, we know DiVincenzo can really stroke it, and his mark of 35% from NBA distance prove he’s ready-made for instant rotation minutes somewhere.
Not many players can fill that description outside of a select few in the 2018 class of guard and wing prospects.
If DiVincenzo can consistently hit at above average marks in spot-up situations, his two-way moxie will make it hard to bring him off the floor. He’s a proven winner on the basketball court, and his basketball IQ is there.
DiVincenzo’s explosive vertical ability, which showed itself on two occasions against Michigan on two critical defensive swats, show he’s more than just someone who can shoot perimeter jumpers.
At the combine, DiVincenzo recorded his max vertical leap of 42” which led all prospects. That’s one way to really boost your stock up into the first round range.
In transition, the former Villanova guard had a knack for finishing through contact or leading the right outlet into mismatches. DiVincenzo tallied five instances this season where he amassed five or more free throw attempts. Not only can he draw contact from the outside but he can put his shoulder down and finish inside.
DiVincenzo is a smart player who’s proven to not really bring negative value when he’s still busting his chops defensively.
With his above-average assist to turnover ratio for someone his size, DiVincenzo has playmaker upside in his profile. While not the savviest in situations like pick-and-roll, DiVincenzo is someone who can still be called upon as a secondary playmaker who can calm the offense down.
Being dynamite off both the dribble and catch is another feather in the cap of DiVincenzo, who’s already thicker frame might give him an early advantage compared to his counterparts.
Even though he rose late in the process, there’s actually plenty to like on DiVincenzo when diving even further into his game.
The main concern that will maybe put clamps on expectations for this 20-year-old is his average length (6’6” wingspan on 6’5” frame). How will he handle himself against someone like Marcus Smart during the course of an entire NBA season? It’s a legitimate question, but there’s hope that soon enough within his strength and conditioning regimen it’s not an issue for someone like him who’s pro-ready.
It also brings concerns on the other end, though. Will DiVincenzo immediately become a hindrance defensively if he’s not able to stick in front of quicker-footed guards? I believe he’s fine in that area with his proven athleticism track record but the skeptics are quick to bring that into discussions.
I pointed to this early, but DiVincenzo can be too ‘hot and cold’ but he’s proven capable enough with his elite shooting profile, especially from the perimeter, where he will be making his early success off of. One area to maybe follow early is his free throw percentage, which was just over 70%.
Consistency issues will happen to all names in this archetype eventually, so just keep letting the shooters shoot.
There’s not many holes in DiVincenzo’s arsenal, but it’s the overall ceiling outlook that might scare some away from going for him instead of someone like Melton. His career will be made off buoying second units, but there might be some starter potential if he lands in the correct situation for development purposes.
Fit in Phoenix
Like Davon Reed and Alec Peters in 2017, DiVincenzo at No. 31 or in trade back scenarios continues to add towards the collection of shooters every team needs for pace-and-space success. Outside of those two, only Troy Daniels and Jared Dudley are proven players off the bench who can consistently knock down open perimeter looks.
Phoenix will need to continue stockpiling shooters, especially if they want Devin Booker to operate with career-best spacing in 2018-19. Surround Booker with the likes of DiVincenzo and Reed all the sudden allows ample drive-and-kick opportunities or he can still finish through contact. While fielding near non-competitive rotations at most points, Booker wasn’t able to be utilized there but his efficiency jump points toward it being on the horizon.
DiVincenzo’s immediate two-way role would be second unit spot-up shooter with the ultimate green light (maybe Troy Daniels replacement?) who also can also check guards defensively.
Anytime you are able to add someone who’s floor is high, that’s an ideal candidate to add into Phoenix’s roster with already plenty of projects on board.
Outside of their choice at No. 1, it might be best for the Suns to target more seasoned, NBA-ready prospects compared to ones 2-3 years away. DiVincenzo fits that billing while also offering up all-around versatility that Phoenix needs in order to operate to its full capabilities.
Big Board: No. 28 (No. 13 Wing)
Comparison: Ceiling - C.J. McCollum / Floor - Anthony Morrow