In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s installment evaluates Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo.
Donte DiVincenzo is somewhat to the 2018 NBA draft what Zach Collins was to the 2017 NBA draft. Collins rode a deep run by Gonzaga through the NCAA tournament to elevate his profile. He never started a single game at the college level but ended up being drafted at No. 10 overall. Of course, the main differences are that Collins was a one and done and is also a 7 footer. DiVincenzo is not.
Having spent three years at Villanova, DiVincenzo technically red-shirted his first year, but he would go on to win the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award despite having played exclusively off of the bench. His profile soared as he helped the Wildcats win the national title and now he is exploring his opportunity to officially enter the 2018 NBA draft.
The 21-year-old guard appeared to build a lot of confidence on both ends of the court across his sophomore season. He also developed his body especially from a strength perspective and increasingly became an impact player.
The per-game box score stats of DiVincenzo really don’t provide much insight into how much he advanced his offensive skill set. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. He shot 48.1 percent from the field, which is excellent for a guard, including 40.1 percent from beyond the three-point line. He became a well-rounded offensive creator but across the scouting ranks there seems to be some questions as to how much of that is a result of playing in the finely tuned offensive system of Jay Wright versus how much it reflects on his own status as a prospect.
There is little doubt that he can shoot the ball from NBA three point range. But he is also strong attacking the paint. He is also a gifted passer. He could be a little more secure with the basketball at times. And there are questions as to whether he will profile at the next level more as a point guard or a shooting guard.
His ability to shoot off of the dribble is probably his most ready NBA offensive skill set. If his defender gives him any space inside of 25 feet, he is confident shooting the basketball. His shooting form is extremely clean and repeatable.
This is an action that almost every NBA team is looking to leverage. Villanova attacks very early in the shot clock before the opposing team has set their defense. DiVincenzo lifts into the dribble hand off and is a threat to shoot the basketball as soon as the hand off is executed.
He shows a lot of awareness and is very solid in his decision making. On this play, he recognizes when the offensive flow drags the opposing rim protector to the perimeter. He quickly attacks in dribble penetration and gets to the rim for the uncontested lay up with the left hand.
Last season, he demonstrated an improved ability to finish through contact. He takes advantage of the rim protector getting away from the basket again. And as his defender tries to cut off his path to the basket he seeks out and gets the contact and has enough strength to finish and get the additional shot at the free throw line.
He demonstrates excellent feel and timing as a cutter. And he showed more power in his ability to finish decisively as his body got stronger.
DiVincenzo is an good team defender. He sees the plays as they develop and demonstrates solid decision making as a help defender. He rebounds well for a guard. There are outstanding questions about his ability at the NBA level to defend some of the stronger shooting guards.
His growth as a defender will determine whether he ultimately projects as a potential starter or not. He could have a lot of value as a combo guard playing off of the bench if the defense doesn’t quite get there. But I think those that have already labelled him as limited on that end of the court are doing so prematurely. He got a lot stronger in his three years on campus and there is no reason the quickness could not be improved with the continued physical development. His straight line speed might actually be the biggest concern about his physical profile.
He showed a lot more on defense the last month or so of the season last year even though it was his offensive production that garnered all of the attention.
On this play, you can see the manifestation of his average straight line speed but also the quickness and vertical skills he displays in more of the half court defensive setting.
Again, on this play, it is evident that his physical skills might work quite well at the professional level with the context of a half court defensive possession. He demonstrates good awareness and decision making as a help defender and provides resistance at the rim.
Don’t make two much of these two blocks in the national title game as he had 8 total blocked shots on the entire season. But it is encouraging that he flashed this ability a few times. It’s in his toolbox.
Smart teams will want to see how DiVincenzo looks in the scrimmage environment at the NBA combine. In the scrimmage, match ups teams usually run very basic schemes. As such, it will provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate how he looks on and off the ball on the offensive end of the court and how he looks when matched up on bigger wings on the defensive end of the court.
It will also be interesting to see if he can demonstrate an ability to switch ends of the court quickly enough such that teams that are building to play fast will have interest in him. That could have the most to do with where might end up being drafted.
There is little doubt that he will be an above average shooter, cutter and an acceptable secondary playmaker. He’s an interesting prospect that could move from a late first round to a mid first round projection depending upon how much he is able to satisfy scouts in those areas where the outstanding questions remain.