One of the biggest underclassmen names that recently decided to stay in the 2018 NBA Draft is Villanova sophomore shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo. Several mock drafts, including CBS Sports’s own put together by Reid Forgrave and Gary Parish’s, have DiVincenzo going in the Top 20. While he might be a slight reach with the 11th overall pick, there is a case for the Hornets to consider DiVincenzo in the first round.
DiVincenzo’s performances in Villanova’s six games in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Tournament were ones for the ages, including his highlight performance in the Wildcats victory over Michigan in the National Championship.
In the final, DiVincenzo appeared in 37 minutes off the bench for Villanova and nearly outscored the three starting guards for Michigan, who combined for 39 points while he scored 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the floor including 5-for-7 from the 3-point line
Leading up to the national championship game, DiVincenzo was shooting an impressive 15-for-31 from distance. That mark from distance is better than what J.J. Reddick, Bradley Beal, Jimmer Fredette shot in their final appearance in their respective NCAA Tournament games.
The Hornets have recently opted for safer picks, but in doing so, missed out on much better players. Most recently, the Hornets took Malik Monk over Donovan Mitchell, a selection that, at least for the moment, appears to be the wrong one. While little from Mitchell’s time in college indicated he would have such a strong rookie season, signs indicated that he had big game potential. For what it’s worth, DiVincenzo’s production numbers this past season at Villanova were nearly similar to Mitchell’s production in his last season at Louisville in 2016-2017.
- DiVincenzo’s Production in 2017-2018: 13.4ppg 4.8rpg 3.5apg 48.1 FG% 40.1 3PT% 71.0 FT%
- Mitchell’s Production in 2016-2017: 15.6ppg 4.9rpg 2.7apg 40.8 FG% 35.4 3PT% 80.6 FT%
DiVincenzo finished this past season with 22 games where he recorded five or more 3-point attempts, averaging 3.0 made 3-pointers in those 22 games. To put that into perspective, former Davidson Wildcat and current Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry averaged 3.8 made 3-pointers in his last season at Davidson on his 130 made 3’s in 34 games played in the 2008-09 season.
Charlotte’s guards struggled overall from distance this season, finishing in the bottom half in several 3-point categories:
- 15th in Guard Made Three-Pointers% per Game: 36.3
- 19th in Team Made Three-Pointers per Game: 10.0
- 21st in Team Three-Pointer Attempts per Game: 27.2
DiVincenzo could help improve on that end.
He also possess a strong overall offensive and defensive rating when he is on the floor. In his 40 games played this season, DiVincenzo finished with a 121.3 Offensive Rating, which ranked him 8th in the Big East. He had an Offensive Win Share Rating of 3.7 (6th in the Big East), finished with 139 Assists (9th in the Big East), and limited his turnovers to only 79 (10th in the Big East).
As a defensive player, DiVincenzo recorded 42 steals which placed him 8th in the Big East, ahead of players like Jalen Brunson, Max Strus, and Eric Paschall. DiVincenzo also recorded a 101.3 Defensive Rating which placed him at 10th in the Big East.
Overall DiVincenzo’s skill set makes him a serious option that the Hornets should consider with the 11th pick in this year’s draft. While he could be a risk, he is one the Hornets should ultimately consider taking.