After turning heads during the national championship game with his performance, the Minnesota Timberwolves should consider drafting Donte DiVincenzo.
They don’t hand out the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament award to just anyone.
And the man who was barely on anyone’s draft board earlier in the NCAA season, Donte DiVincenzo, broke onto the scene with his 31-point performance in the most important game of the year for Villanova. — a game in which Villanova captured its second national title in three years.
Now, considering DiVincenzo as a first-round pick may come as a surprise to some. It’s hard to fathom how can someone who started in just 12 of 85 career games be a first-round pick. However, don’t overthink what DiVincenzo has to offer. The man can ball.
For someone who watched a lot of Villanova games this year, you know his limited role didn’t mean much. Any time a highly-touted teammate of his such as Mikal Bridges or Jalen Brunson found themselves in a slump, it was DiVincenzo who was there to bail them out.
What the Wolves are looking for are the same traits DiVincenzo possesses. He’s an all-around 3-point threat and a solid perimeter defender. Although he wasn’t a starter for much of his college career, DiVincenzo knows how to play the game.
His numbers speak for themselves. Each season he attempted and made more shots from the field, three and free throw line. That helped increase his points per game average in each season also. Very simply, the more time he had on the court, the more productive he was.
Here’s some highlight footage from the combine.
He can shoot from all over the court and is very craft shooting off of the dribble, as well as coming off of screens. From shooting to creating, DiVincenzo’s awareness coming off of screens is something scouts should be drooling over.
On defense, DiVincenzo knows how to play too. Which, for the Wolves, would be an absolute blessing.
His steals per game increased each year as did his rebounds per game. What this tells me is that he’s not scared to get in and battle with the bigs. All around, he has a very high IQ for the game. He shows the tools to be the commander on the floor as well as someone who can hit big-time shots when need be.
DiVincenzo stands at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds which is a good size for a guard. His standing vertical also stood among the best at the combine.
However, there are some concerns with him. He can be a streaky shooter and struggle to defend quicker players. Nonetheless, DiVincenzo still has the makings of a high-volume combo guard. While we’re at it, he can bring some power when he throws one down.
Similar to Wolves point guard Tyus Jones, DiVincenzo comes from a winning program. He was also coached by one of the best in the nation, Jay Wright, who turned Villanova into a national powerhouse. While this may not seem like a huge deal to some just know it makes all of the difference.
As it has been well documented all season the Wolves just found out what winning tastes like for the first time in a long time. While at college the only thing DiVincenzo knew was winning. By putting him on the Wolves the winning mentality on both sides may have the potential to become something great.
Look, drafting based on ceiling and floor is a dangerous game to play — that’s how busts happen, more often than not. With DiVincenzo, take what he has to offer. Don’t try and predict where he will be in 5-10 years. Instead, picture what he can do for the Wolves, who are in “win now” mode, next season. Picture the kind of push he can offer to the up and coming team and how he can make them better.
There is one last note to make about DiVincenzo. He is one of the most competitive players in the draft and one who brings a lot of effort in to each game. That would mean getting after the 50/50 balls, not taking a play off, and any other tangible that comes from pure instinct on the court.
According to most draft boards, DiVincenzo should be around at pick no. 20 which the Wolves own. If so, they should really consider taking the junior. However, don’t be surprised if he’s taken higher in the draft, that’s where his talent level is at.