Knicks: Donte DiVincenzo making invaluable impact off of the bench

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) drives to the basket while Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) defends during the second half at TD Garden
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Donte DiVincenzo’s hot play off of the New York Knicks’ bench has head coach Tom Thibodeau and his teammates raving about the unique element he brings to the team.

DiVincenzo’s Court Savvy and Basketball IQ Have Bolstered The Knicks’ Offense

According to Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News, coach Thibodeau had this to say about how DiVincenzo’s outside presence has diversified the offense:

“I’m pleased with the way he’s shooting right now, but as the season goes on, people search him out, they know what his game is,” Thibodeau continued. “He knows how to get open, he knows how to play off people, and I think what he does on the back side, it’s hard to defend that because of the way he moved without the ball.”

DiVincenzo’s movement has been the most significant intangible that has positively impacted the Knicks through 14 games. Thibodeau also noted how in “Milwaukee and Golden State, he had big nights and he tends to get better [as the season goes on].”

In Milwaukee, DiVincenzo was one of many floor spacers that grew accustomed to rotating around the arc as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Middleton drove to the basket and looked for open shooters. With the Warriors, he developed his play in a Steve Kerr offense that promoted a variety of cuts, screens, and misdirections that freed him up for shots early in the shot clock.

DiVincenzo is a Solution to Knicks’ Bottom-Barrel Pace of Play

As a result, DiVincenzo is making 1.9 threes on 38.0 percent shooting from deep, the latter of which is the second-best clip of his career. He’s been a key component in a second unit lineup including Immanuel Quickley, Isaiah Hartenstein, Josh Hart, and RJ Barrett that outscore opponents by 11.5 points per 100 possessions.

The Knicks’ offense is catching up to their top-five defense, but they lack the pace needed to keep up with the highest-octane offenses in the NBA. DiVincenzo provides a solution when inserted into the game. Winfield also shared DiVincenzo’s comments on his mentality regarding his role on the team. DiVincenzo said:

“I think we have a really deep team, so whatever the situation is, whatever the role is, just coming in and bringing that energy and then focus on everything else after that,” DiVincenzo remarked.

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The Knicks Have Benefitted From DiVincenzo’s Reliability Late in Games

His strong play coupled with Quentin Grimes’ injury has caused some in the media to question whether or not he should be inserted into the starting lineup. Whether with the first five or second, DiVincenzo has made an early case for earning more minutes, particularly down the stretch of games.

His prowess in the clutch was put on full display in the Knicks’ win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 6. DiVincenzo scored eight points and was active on the offensive glass and in the assists department down the stretch of the fourth quarter.

Teammates Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes have enjoyed playing alongside DiVincenzo. Brunson exclaimed that he was ‘not surprised at all’ by DiVincenzo’s ability to bring a diverse range of skills to the floor. Coach Thibodeau has a valued asset that he hopes will continue his play throughout the season.