A look at draft prospect Donte DiVincenzo and his potential fit with the San Antonio Spurs.
This offseason and impending free agency could bring about significant turnover for the San Antonio Spurs roster, especially at the guard position. Manu Ginobili may decide to hang it up after 16 seasons. Danny Green has a player option and may opt out, in pursuit of one last long-term contract. Additionally, Bryn Forbes is entering restricted free agency this summer. The Spurs may look to add depth at the shooting guard position during the draft and Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo could help fill that potential void.
The 2018 Final Four Most Outstanding Player led the Villanova Wildcats to their second NCAA championship in the last three years with an explosive 31-point showing in the championship game against Michigan. The sophomore guard rode that wave of momentum all the way to the NBA Combine where he shattered expectations and preconceived notions about his game while also tying the highest max vertical leap measurement at 42 inches and recording the sixth-best time in the lane agility test (10.72 seconds).
DiVincenzo was initially an afterthought when compared to the litany of other NBA-ready draft prospects streaming out of the Villanova pipeline, ranging from presumptive lottery pick Mikal Bridges to gritty two-time champion Jalen Brunson and freshman sensation Omari Spellman. Once considered a fringe second-round pick, the Big East Sixth Man of the Year wowed NBA scouts with his versatile offensive skill set and has vaulted his name into first round conversations among front office war rooms across the league.
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There’s a lot to like about DiVincenzo. He has solid height and size, boasting a 6’5”, 200-pound frame, but has the athleticism and bounce to be a genuine threat on the glass as a rebounding guard who can stuff put-backs or kick it out to create second-chance opportunities. DiVincenzo came of the bench for a majority of his career at Villanova but was an efficient scorer, averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 boards and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor during his breakout season.
Along with his impressive physical traits, DiVincenzo is a well-rounded player who can score in a variety of ways, whether that’s attacking the rim off the dribble-drive, scoring in the mid-range or knocking down treys, which he did at 40 percent clip last year.
Last year, the Spurs ranked near the bottom of the NBA in a number of offensive categories such as 3-Pointers made (28), 3-Pointers attempted (27), 3-Point percentage (26) and total points (27). DiVincenzo’s strengths line up almost perfectly with some of the Spurs’ key offensive deficiencies. While his calling card is his three-point shot, chucking up 5.3 attempts from long distance per contest during his sophomore campaign, DiVincenzo showcased an offensive repertoire during the combine that speaks to his ability to find other ways to score the ball and impact the offense even if his shot isn’t falling from downtown.
While DiVincenzo may not be a guy you can immediately plug into a starting lineup and expect to make a measurable impact, he could flourish in a system with a sixth man/bench role similar to when he was at Villanova. DiVincenzo’s game resembles Bryn Forbes’ in several respects but he is a bigger, better rebounder and athlete, has the potential to develop into a reliable two-way player and possesses a translatable array of abilities that will allow him to make a difference at the next level.
Although many may caution against using the 18th pick in the draft to select DiVincenzo, who’s slated to be drafted in the mid-to-late twenties, the “Michael Jordan of Delaware” has exciting upside that may be hard to pass up for Spurs GM R.C. Buford.