DiVincenzo shows off his value to Warriors in preseason win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
All eyes were on James Wiseman in the Warriors' preseason opener Friday against the Washington Wizards at Saitama Super Arena. The 7-foot 21-year-old didn't disappoint with 20 points and nine rebounds in a 96-87 win to start off the Warriors' two-game Japan trip.
Behind Wiseman, the brunt of attention was placed on rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, as well as how free-agent additions Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green will fit in for Golden State. DiVincenzo showcased the exact skill set and versatility that has opened eyes early on for the Warriors. He showed how to be able to mesh with his new teammates without many hiccups and miscues.
That was the case in his first game in a Warriors jersey.
"James was kind of the Player of the Game, but Donte DiVincenzo is really going to be a nice addition," Steve Kerr said to reporters after the win. "He just fits our style so well."
DiVincenzo played 17 minutes off the bench, scoring nine points with seven rebounds and two assists. He went 3-for-4 from the field, 2-for-3 on threes, didn't commit any fouls or turnovers and was a plus-9 in plus-minus.
That's much more of the player DiVincenzo was as the Milwaukee Bucks' starting shooting guard during their 2020-21 championship season as opposed to the player he was last season after coming back from ankle surgery. In DiVincenzo's first two playoff games in 2021, he grabbed 10 rebounds and then seven rebounds in wins against the Miami Heat before being injured in Game 3 of the first-round series. The 6-foot-4 guard showed that same knack for the glass to begin the Warriors' preseason schedule.
Gary Payton II averaged 3.5 rebounds per game last season for the Warriors, and snatched at least seven rebounds eight times. DiVincenzo in his last fully healthy season (2020-21) averaged 5.8 rebounds and finished with seven rebounds or more in 23 regular-season games. He won't provide the same elite defense that Payton did, but should be able to give the Warriors 70 to 80 percent of what GP2 did on that side of the ball, plus add more offensive versatility as a better shooter and ball handler.
He also showed some chemistry with Wiseman. Both of his two assists were to the big man, and DiVincenzo's second 3-pointer came off a Wiseman rebound where he saw the guard standing all alone behind the line.
"Throughout the summer, we were working out a lot," Wiseman said of DiVincenzo. "Just building that chemistry means everything, and on the court it showed tonight."
DiVincenzo's first assist to Wiseman came on the play of the game. Everyone will remember and highlight Wiseman throwing it down on Kristaps Porzingis, but DiVincenzo deserves his credit too. After saving a near-turnover, DiVincenzo took one dribble and with one hand he hit Wiseman in stride and in the chest, delivering the perfect pass for Wiseman to hammer home a poster dunk.
His second assist came later in the third quarter on a dribble handoff with Wiseman. Noticing the space he had and Wiseman rolling hard to the hoop, DiVincenzo took one hard dribble to get past two defenders and hit Wiseman with a bounce pass that wound up right in his pocket for an easy dunk.
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Overall, DiVincenzo did what will be asked of him all season long. He's the latest piece to the puzzle that appears to click without any hesitations or major question marks. From Kerr to Andre Iguodala and others, DiVincenzo has been doused with praise ever since signing with the Warriors in free agency.
All it took was one preseason game to show why.