Donte DiVincenzo could help the Knicks in 2 key areas come playoff time

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo has shaped up to be just the asset needed for a successful playoff push. DiVincenzo joined the Knicks this summer with a battle-tested resume. His play earned him favor with Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau early on in the year, and his increased role has only done wonders for his individual game, and for the team.

DiVincenzo is averaging 20.9 points on 36.4% from the three-point line since Jan. 29. His emergence as a 20-point scorer, albeit amid a slew of injuries to the Knicks’ core, is what the Knicks need given their prior shortcomings in the postseason.

Knicks: Donte DiVincenzo can make important plays when Jalen Brunson gets trapped

SNY’s Rafael Canton laid out how the Villanova product can be a gamechanger for the Knicks later this spring:

“The need for a secondary perimeter playmaker is also important for the postseason. When the Cavaliers made an adjustment in the first round by double-teaming and trapping Brunson, Tom Thibodeau’s counter was having wings RJ Barrett and Josh Hart screen for Brunson,” Canton said.

“The move allowed Barrett to thrive either as a scorer or a secondary creator. The same opportunities could be available to DiVincenzo in this year’s playoffs. DiVincenzo is showing that he should be up for the task with this recent stretch.”

Canton’s assertion holds weight. The Knicks finished last among all 16 playoff teams with 18.7 assists in 2023. They continue to rely heavily on Jalen Brunson to get the offense going. That could backfire on them once teams decide to trap the 2024 All-Star.

DiVincenzo has also distributed well in the same span as his torrid scoring. The 26-year-old guard makes quick decisions off of the catch and plays with a pace that allows for defenses to collapse as he slashes, which frees up looks for shooters on the outside.

Knicks can open up their spacing with the efficient DiVincenzo making decisions in the halfcourt

In 2023-24, the Knicks are sporting the second-worst assist percentage (58.4 percent), but it has been nearly three percent better at 61.1 percent in their last 15 games.

Should Brunson find difficulty with opposing defenses and Julius Randle with his consistency, DiVincenzo could be the ideal option to make dynamic plays off of swing passes. His 57.2 percent effective field goal percentage also leads the Knicks among all non-centers. Opposing teams will have to devise schemes to handle his efficient shooting.

New York is fortunate to have a third scorer of his caliber on their roster as they look to get past the second round for the first time since 2000. He can be the difference maker they’ve lacked to provide stability and consistency next to his two All-Star leaders.

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