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Memphis Grizzlies 2018 NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Donte DiVincenzo

The NCAA Tournament‘s Most Outstanding Player is a quick riser in the 2018 NBA Draft

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Michigan vs Villanova Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no player has had their draft stock rise as quickly as Donte DiVincenzo’s has since the NCAA Championship game on April 2nd. After averaging 13 points and 4 rebounds on the season, DiVincenzo broke out in a big way on the national stage, dropping 31 points and 5 rebounds off the bench to lead Villanova to their second NCAA Tournament win in the past 3 seasons. Take a look at how unstoppable he was in that game.

DiVincenzo followed his championship game performance with a stellar combine. He showed off his athleticism with a 34.50” vertical leap, and played well in both scrimmages averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds.

It’s extremely likely that DiVincenzo is long gone before the Grizzlies pick at 32, as most mock drafts have him going in the early to mid 20’s. But in case he falls, or the Grizzlies somehow trade up using #32 to get back in the the later parts of the 1st round, he’d fit nicely in Memphis.

What would DiVincenzo bring to the table if his stock cools and he falls to the Grizzlies? Let’s take a look:

Strengths

  • Dynamic shooter
  • Excellent at absorbing contact and finishing at the rim
  • Plays intense defense
  • Plays with swagger

DiVincenzo is an offensive machine. He’s an elite shooter, having shot over 40% last season from beyond the arc, but can also drive in the lane and finish at the rim. If you need buckets, DiVincenzo is your guy. He also does a fine job at rebounding and passing the ball as well. He won’t wow you with monster rebounding or assists numbers, but he can do enough to have an impact on the game.

DiVincenzo doesn’t have the length to project as a lockdown defender like other players in this draft, but his intensity and effort on the defensive end make up for his lack of size. Bigger players will be able to score on DiVincenzo, but he’ll make sure they earn every bucket they get. He also plays with a bit of swagger needed to succeed in the NBA. In the championship game, he dribbled behind his back, winked at the TV announcers and made some flashy passes all with a menacing grin on his face.

Weaknesses

  • Undersized for a shooting guard
  • Mediocre free throw shooter
  • Questionable decision making
  • Product of elite Villanova system

No matter the effort put in on the defensive end, NBA teams will attack Donte’s 6’4.5” and 200 pound frame. He doesn’t have the ball handling skills to be a point guard, so he will be an undersized shooting guard for whichever team drafts him.

For such a great shooter, DiVincenzo struggled at the free throw line last season, making 71% of his 107 attempts. For a player with a knack for drawing fouls, especially around the rim, Donte will need to put in some work at the charity stripe. DiVincenzo also makes some questionable decisions passing and shooting the ball. You can live with the questionable shot attempts, because he’ll make his fair share of them. The bad passes are worrisome, however. Sometimes DiVincenzo overthinks a play and telegraphs his passes, leading to turnovers.

DivVncenzo shined in the national championship game, but spent most of his career in the shadows of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. He was also a part of a Villanova system that let his strengths shine, as he was never the focal point of most teams scouting reports when preparing to play Nova. It will be interesting to see if he can excel outside of Jay Wright’s schemes.

NBA Expectations (Ceiling, Floor, Realistic Expectation)

NBA: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

If Donte can work more on his shot mechanics, he could become the next Kyle Korver. Both players can shoot lights out, although sometimes streaky. Neither player is a lockdown defender but both play defense with a lot of intensity.

If Divincenzo’s breakout performance in the championship game was a fluke, he could end up just like Nik Stauskas. Both players played well in college, but Stauskas hasn’t gotten into a groove in the NBA ranks yet, having bounced around from team to team. If his career starts off with cold shooting, Divincenzo could be in trouble.

My favorite comparison, and most realistic, has Donte turning into a Courtney Lee type of player. Both are undersized for the shooting guard position, but play with enough energy to overcome some of the physical deficiencies. Both can shoot lights out from beyond the arc but can also score inside the arc.

Fit with the Grizzlies: A steal at #32

Like stated before, DiVincenzo will likely be gone when the Grizzlies make their pick at #32 overall. If he slips to the Grizzlies, he would be an absolute steal.

DiVincenzo would also fit quite well with Memphis. He would likely have limited minutes his rookie season behind MarShon Brooks (and Tyreke Evans if Chris Wallace is somehow a genius) but could become a great 6th man for the team in years to come. Divincenzo brings the offensive firepower off the bench the same way Lou Williams, who is also a solid comparison, has done for so many years.

Donte‘s playing time would likely vary by matchup and how he plays. If he misses his first few shots, he could play less than 10 minutes. If he comes out on fire? He could play over 20 minutes. I think DiVincenzo’s minutes will be comparable to Troy Daniels’ were two seasons ago, which I see no problem with. If DiVincenzo becomes a Grizzly, he’ll have to earn his keep.

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