76ers

NBA draft profile: Villanova G Donte DiVincenzo

NBA draft profile: Villanova G Donte DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo     

Position: Guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 200

School: Villanova

The Michael Jordan of Delaware has come a long way from his first season at Villanova. After leading Salesianum High School to two state titles, DiVincenzo came to Jay Wright as a highly-touted prospect. He struggled initially, most notably with his defense. He was redshirted in 2015-16 after playing very little in nine games.

During his redshirt freshman season, DiVincenzo began carving out his role with the Wildcats, averaging 25.5 minutes a contest and becoming a big part of Wright’s rotation. This past season, DiVincenzo became a star. After being named Big East Sixth Man of the Year, DiVincenzo had a phenomenal NCAA Tournament that culminated in him being named Most Outstanding Player of the Championship Game. 

During his breakout season, DiVincenzo averaged 13.4 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 40 percent from three. 

Strengths
DiVincenzo’s biggest and perhaps most underrated strength is his athleticism. He’s quick and he can jump out of the building. The blocks he had in the championship were just a couple of the many blocks where he demonstrated his explosive leaping ability. 

He was instant offense off the bench for Villanova and that should translate to the NBA. He’s a three-level scorer. He’s proven he can shoot the three, shoot off the dribble in the midrange and finish at the rim. Again, his athleticism allows him to finish and he’s strong enough to do so through contact. At times, he ran the point, providing some versatility as a combo guard. He has decent vision and feel.

That redshirt year must’ve made DiVincenzo hungry because you would’ve never known he struggled defensively. He’s a pesky defender with the quickness to guard ones and twos. He’s not afraid to be physical. He’s also a very good rebounder for his size.

Weaknesses
At just under 6-foot-4, he’s a little undersized for an NBA two. He ran the offense at times for Villanova but it’s not necessarily his strength. His points tend to come in bunches and his shooting can be inconsistent. When he doesn’t have it going, he has a tendency to force things instead of letting the game come to him. 

He’s not long and he’s more of a solid team defender than a strong on-the-ball defender.

NBA comparison
There’s a little Tim Hardaway Jr. to DiVincenzo’s game. Both players have great athleticism and both can score on all three levels. They also both score in bunches and struggle with shooting from long range consistently. Neither player is particularly long or a lockdown defender, but both play with great energy and play solid team defense. Like DiVincenzo, Hardaway Jr. also came from a successful college program and played in big games.

How he'd fit with Sixers
DiVincenzo could be an impact player off the Sixers’ bench almost immediately. With his experience in college and microwave scoring, he’d be a welcome addition. DiVincenzo could fit into Marco Belinelli’s role but offer much more athleticism, ball handling ability and defense, though the Sixers would obviously lose experience.

Draft projection
This is interesting. Early in the process, DiVincenzo was projected to go in the late 20s or maybe even in the second round. After tearing up the combine, there’s no way he makes it past No. 30. His draft stock has taken a similar rise to DeAndre’ Bembry’s a couple years back, when the St. Joe’s wing was taken 21st overall by Atlanta. Will he make it to 26? Possibly, and the Sixers should take a long look if he does.

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Nemanja Bjelica spurns Sixers, reportedly talking deal with Kings

Nemanja Bjelica spurns Sixers, reportedly talking deal with Kings

What exactly is going on with the Sixers?

After missing out on LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and any and all superstar free agents this summer, even their bench, fill-out-the-roster type of guys are dodging the Sixers like a plague.

The latest being forward Nemanja Bjelica, who was in Philly (but not really) for just a bit longer than Eagle-for-a-second Frank Gore.

Bjelica, 30, reportedly agreed to a deal with the Sixers on July 5, providing a boost off the bench and an upgrade over Ersan Ilyasova. 

That was all grand until Tuesday, when news broke that Bjelica had spurned the Sixers and was going back to Europe, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

But in the greatest (or lamest) twist in a strange and sad offseason for the Sixers, Bjelica is now looking to stay in the NBA and is working toward a deal with the Sacramento Kings, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania. That can't be right. No one would willingly sign with the Kings.

Bjelica posted career bests in points (6.1) and three-point percentage (41.5) last season. While he would have been a nice bench addition, it's not the end of the world. But it sure isn't a great look that the Sixers were toyed with and lost out to a lowly team like the Kings. 

After the Bryan Colangelo debacle and the star-hunting strikeout, we're officially at the "Player X would rather sign with the Kings" stage of the offseason.

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What now for Sixers after Kawhi Leonard trade to Raptors?

What now for Sixers after Kawhi Leonard trade to Raptors?

LeBron James is a Laker. Kawhi Leonard is a Raptor.

The Sixers went star hunting and came up empty. So now what for a team that won 52 games but is likely one more superstar away from winning a title?

You may not like this answer, but the correct course of action is … nothing — at least not this offseason.

The only star that could possibly be available is the Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler — if you choose to believe the rumors. Butler, who is an outstanding two-way player, will be 29 entering next season and has an expiring deal. He already forced his way out of Chicago and reportedly wants to force his way out of Minnesota. How much are you giving up for that?

On a smaller scale, the Sixers lost Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to sign with the team for the mid-level exception. The Serbian forward decided instead to take his talents back to the EuroLeague ... or maybe not. Bjelica certainly wasn’t a star but he appeared to be a solid bench piece that might’ve actually been an upgrade from Ersan Ilyasova. So what should the Sixers do with their MLE?

Nothing — again, at least this year.

Who do you want that’s left? Joe Johnson? Michael Beasley? Jamal Crawford? That’s three hard no’s for me.

The Sixers should go into camp with what they have and let the competition play out. Maybe they’ll figure out what to do with Jerryd Bayless’ deal or waive Richaun Holmes or sign Jonah Bolden or make a small trade, but this roster is mostly set. And that’s fine.

This team, that again won 52 games, should be better. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons should only improve. Markelle Fultz can only go up. Dario Saric took a huge leap in Year 2 and we know the kind of worker he is. Wilson Chandler is an upgrade over any player the Sixers had on the bench last year, especially when you factor in defense.

They’re not the favorites to win the East, nor should they be. But that’s fine. With the Warriors continuing to load up and James now out West, what chance does any team in the East have? (Zero is the answer, by the way). 

Fast forward to next offseason. Leonard, Butler, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are among a loaded free-agent class. Any one of those players would be a fit and a huge upgrade for the Sixers and they’d be joining the team at the right time. Embiid and Simmons will both be a year more mature and developed and the Warriors will be a year older with their cap situation tighter.

As for the MLE, if the Sixers go star hunting again next offseason and wind up with someone like Leonard, they could use it on a ring-chasing, veteran mercenary. That’s much more valuable than one year of Johnson, Beasley or Crawford on a team that doesn’t have a realistic shot at a title next year.

Brett Brown may have set a tough bar for the offseason. When he did his now infamous star-hunting presser, it raised expectations from the fan base. Since the Sixers came up empty in their quest, most look at the offseason as a bad one.

There’s no nice way to put it: Missing out on James and Leonard sucks for the Sixers. But all is far from lost. Name another team in the NBA that has two superstars the caliber of Embiid and Simmons both under the age of 24. You can’t because such a team does not exist.

Would the Sixers have been better off if they landed a star this offseason? Of course. But now knowing that they swung and missed, their best course of action is inaction — for now.

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