Knicks: JJ Redick criticizes ‘preposterous’ CBA rule that stripped Donte DiVincenzo of MIP award eligibility

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks
Jan 30, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) celebrates his three point shot against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo has been ruled ineligible for the Most Improved Player of the Year award for a reason that might make Knicks fans very upset.

DiVincenzo got knocked off the ballot due to a complex rule in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement that mandates a minimum amount of games and minutes played in the season.

Yes, DiVincenzo did play 81 games this year. The CBA’s stipulated minimum is only 65 games. So why doesn’t the Villanova product have a chance anymore?

A minutes caveat is what kept Knicks’ Donte DiVincenzo from being eligible for MIP

It all lies within the details. The caveat in the rules on the official ballot is as follows (h/t CBS Sports’ James Herbert):

“Please note that a player is eligible for this award only if he meets the criteria set forth in the NBA/NBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (‘CBA’). Specifically, a player must have played in at least (a) 65 Regular Season games, or (b) 62 Regular Season games, suffered a season-ending injury as determined in accordance with the CBA, and prior to suffering such injury had played in at least 85% of his team’s Regular Season games.

“A player is considered to have played in a Regular Season game for these purposes if he played at least 20 minutes of such game, provided that in respect of no more than two games per Regular Season, a player is considered to have played the game if he played at least 15 and fewer than 20 minutes. A player who failed to meet the games-played requirement may nonetheless be eligible for this award if he prevailed in a challenge to establish his eligibility pursuant to procedures set forth in the CBA.”

Due to the fact that DiVincenzo played under 20 minutes in 19 of his 81 games in 2023-24, he is out of the running under those rules.

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) reacts after his three pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center
Feb 22, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) reacts after his three pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

DiVincenzo is worthy of recognition even if it’s not by way of official voting

ESPN’s JJ Redick called the decision ‘preposterous’ on X.

It’s an unfortunate shake for the breakout star who raised his 9.4 points per game by 6.1 points from 2022-23 to 15.5 PPG this season and set the Knicks’ single-season franchise record with 283 three-pointers made.

DiVincenzo was instrumental in keeping the Knicks afloat when they lost Mitchell Robinson for three months with an ankle injury, Julius Randle with a dislocated shoulder on Jan. 27, and OG Anunoby throughout multiple stretches of the year with an elbow ailment.

Whether or not he would have taken home the award over strong candidates in Coby White (Chicago Bulls), Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers), or Jalen Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder), the stringent rule robbed Knicks fans and the NBA world from properly celebrating one of this year’s most improved players.

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