By: Jeffrey Newholm
“Soup pitched great!” You’ll have to excuse Milwaukee fans from being a bit jaded after hearing Ned Yost’s feeble proclamation in favor of free agent bust Jeff Suppan. After years of “Own the Future!” by the Bucks, however, the city’s NBA franchise may be ready to make a competitive push. After a turbulent 2018 season with two coaches and three playoff wins, Mike Budenholzer aims to lead the deer past the first round for the first time since 2001. Towards this end, the Bucks drafted Villanova sixth man Done Divincenzo with the seventeenth pick of the draft. The Bucks rightly were judicious with their only pick. Is Divincenzo the right man to finally boost Milwaukee to a top four finish?
As the Rockets and Warriors so aptly demonstrated, three point shooting is critical in the NBA. So it’s reasonable for a team that made the fourth fewest threes to take a outside shooter. However, Divincenzo may not be enough, by himself, to improve the team. General manager Jon Horst is unconcerned with Divincenzo’s status as a bench player, arguing he was one of the three best Wildcats. Also, Villanova’s pro-style offense translates well to the NBA. Budenholzer stated that Divincenzo “would have to be good defensively” to play, indicating the team is not too focused on one play area. Encouraging words, but on-court results matters the most in the court of public opinion.
The Bucks are fortunate that they do not have to outshoot Houston and Golden State. Divincenzo, like Suppan, played well very close to signing time and earned the title of Final Four MVP. The totality of his work, however, is what should matter most, and his concluding success may make this pick a reach. Ultimately, the Bucks made a safe pick to complement a safe coaching hire. The team aims to stabilize the franchise under new ownership and a new arena. Budenholzer claimed that Divincenzo is “going to a real good player for Milwaukee for a real long time”. It’s easy to dismiss this statement as overly hyperbolic. But maybe, just once, with the Bucks gaining a bit of momentum, Milwaukee fans should give management the benefit of a doubt for a franchise long full of them.