The Milwaukee Bucks have had an eventful start to their season, and a number of unexpected transactions (hi, DeMarcus Cousins! Welcome back, Wes Matthews!) have crossed the wire lately. Almost forgotten in the background is Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo, who hasn’t played organized basketball since May and has been rehabbing a nasty ankle injury suffered against the Miami Heat in last year’s playoffs.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, that absence is slowly coming to an end (hopefully) as DiVincenzo will suit up for the Wisconsin Herd as a part of a rehab assignment.
Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo has been assigned to Milwaukee’s NBA G League affiliate Wisconsin – inching closer to a potential December season debut after ankle surgery in June, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 6, 2021
DiVincenzo, 24, has been a polarizing figure amongst Bucks fans during his NBA career. After an awful rookie season, Donte broke out as a sophomore but struggled with lower leg injuries. Last year, as he replaced Wes Matthews in the starting lineup, Donte appeared to be coming into his own as his three-point accuracy increased and instances of his egregious over-helping on defense decreased. Alas, an unfortunate baseline drive ended up rupturing an ankle tendon, leaving DiVincenzo to finish out the Bucks’ run to the NBA Finals atop a mobility scooter.
We’ve seen a handful of videos of Donte working out with coaches and staff, but this news is the most encouraging information we’ve heard ever since training camp, when Mike Budenholzer was unwilling (unable?) to provide a timetable where we could expect DiVincenzo to return. If he is indeed on his way back to a Bucks uni, Donte will further reinforce the Milwaukee backcourt, but his role is less clear-cut. With Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen (who has excelled since joining the Bucks) as the clear-cut starters, DiVincenzo is also competing with the likes of Pat Connaughton, George Hill, the aforementioned Wes Matthews, and veteran Rodney Hood for minutes off the bench. Furthermore, DiVincenzo was one of the Bucks’ most dynamic – and erratic – defenders, with his gambling tendencies ending up with a clutch deflection just as often as a blown rotation. Between that and his three-point shooting (improved last year but not a sure thing), how many minutes are there for the Big Ragu?
Time will tell, but for now we’re encouraged to hear that DiVincenzo is on his way to Oshkosh to continue his journey back to the court.