Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo broke out in the NCAA Tournament. He has been a solid bench player and that could give him instant impact.
At the top of the NBA Draft, it is easy to get enamored with potential stardom. At those heights and that early in the Draft, teams are hoping to strike it big and get foundational pieces. The kind of players who will star for the team for a long time and be foundational pieces for the team far into the future.
The reality is not all of them will become stars. It is simply impossible from a number’s standpoint. And the future is not 100 percent. Teams will get it wrong.
And it is here where truly smart scouting takes place. It is not the teams that gamble and take big cuts on top picks that end up paying off, it is the teams that draft smart and understand how to minimize their risk and find someone who can fit in.
Later on in the Draft, there are teams still taking these wild cuts. But most teams want to find players who do something — anything — at an elite level and can contribute to the team in a meaningful way. Whether that is as a fringe starter or coming off the bench.
Then there is a player like Donte DiVincenzo. An underclassmen who thrived in this sixth man role and already filled in as a reserve player for a championship team. That bodes well for DiVincenzo as he enters the league.
He entered the Draft riding high off his 31-point performance in the national championship game against the Michigan Wolverines. There he hit five of seven 3-pointers and took over the game. All off the bench. Michigan never had a chance.
DiVincenzo was in line to take on a larger role next year for the defending champions. But this was clearly the time to strike for himself.
And that is where he might find the most success. He can continue to do what he did with the Villanova Wildcats in the NBA as a reserve role player. That is to make 3-point shots at an efficient clip, to rebound with surprising effectiveness for a player his size and to keep the ball moving with also surprising efficiency.
Maybe that is a bit of coded language. But DiVincenzo is a grinder. Whatever Villanova needed in the moment, he found a way to provide it. And every team could use that.