Knicks’ Donte DiVincenzo a natural fit off the bench

Los Angeles Clipper forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Donte DiVincenzo was the marquee offseason acquisition for the New York Knicks and the former NBA champion has given the franchise what they’ve invested in thus far.

DiVincenzo’s Presence Has Made the Knicks’ Bench Stronger

As Zach Braziller of the New York Post pointed out, DiVincenzo has helped the Knicks’s second unit outscore opponents at a higher rate compared to last season, and his teammates love having him around, with this from Immanuel Quickley:

“I think that’s pretty special. When you can have guys connect and gel right off the bat without much time together is always a sign of something that can be special,” Quickley said.

DiVincenzo has been instrumental in helping the Knicks space the floor and speed up their offense through eight games. He’s found opportune looks when getting to the corners and the wing while trailing on the break and has also put himself in the right position when Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle attack the basket.

DiVincenzo’s days with the Golden State Warriors have molded him into a player who has and can continue to help the Knicks find quicker ways to get up shots, a problem they’ve dealt with dating back to last year. Quickley likes to run-and-gun and his play meshes well with DiVincenzo’s.

How DiVincenzo’s Impact Shows Up on the Stat Sheet

Braziller noted that the Knicks’ lineup of DiVincenzo, Quickley, Isaiah Hartenstein, RJ Barrett, and Josh Hart have outscored opponents by 3.1 points per 100 possessions this season. Further, the same five have made the second-most threes of all Knicks lineups (min. 4 GP) with 1.8 triples per contest.

DiVincenzo has shot well individually from outside at 37.1 percent and when he’s on the floor, the Knicks play with a fluidity that was not seen as much as in 2022-23.

Can DiVincenzo Continue to Grow in Reserve Role as the Season Wares on?

Intangibly, DiVincenzo has been vital toward much of the success the Knicks have had scoring the basketball. Yet, he’s seeing 19.4 minutes a night and has not been distributing at as high a rate as in previous seasons.

In training camp, DiVincenzo stated that he was looking forward to an expanded role on the Knicks. Thus far, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has not increased his minutes but that is subject to change, especially as the year progresses. DiVincenzo’s per 36 minutes stats are on par with his career numbers, so if and when an uptick in court time comes, he’ll have the chance to take that next step in his career.

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