Ragu is a stew that consists of stewing pieces of any type of meat in its juices with a sauce. The origin of the dish is French, but the Italians took it as their own. The term comes from the verb ragoûter, which is meant to give taste and awaken desire.
Donte DiVincenzo is used to adversity. He appeared in nine games his redshirt freshman year before a fractured foot ended his season. Like this famous European dish, Donte DiVincenzo had his awakening in 2017. After scoring a last-second two-pointer to carry Villanova over the University of Virginia; Gus Johnson figuratively tattooed Donte’s back with the nickname “The Big Ragu”.
From that moment in time, he flourished. As a redshirt freshman, he was selected to the Big East All-Freshman Team and the Philadelphia Big Five Rookie Of The Year. The following season the shooting guard had a fantastic year with a statement ending: scoring 31 points for Villanova in the National Championship game, beating Michigan for the NCAA crown.
From an injured true freshman to pick number 17 of the Bucks in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Big Ragu had everything Milwaukee needed. Ideal guard size, defensive instincts, aggressiveness, three-point shooting, and a reputation as a secondary creator to go alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
As was the story of his college career, Donte went from playing just 27 games (none as a starter) in his rookie season to 69 starts in his third year (66 regular seasons games and three playoff games) until a ruptured tendon in his left ankle sidelined him yet again; preventing him from seeing the floor for Milwaukee’s illustrious championship run.
He was traded to Sacramento Kings in February of 2022. A team who had once tried to trade for him in a failed Bogdan Bogdanovic deal. He was heavily pursued by the Kings organization. He left good impressions but despite all their efforts to acquire the Villanova product, the franchise opted against a qualifying offer in the offseason; leaving DiVencenzo once again on the outside looking in.
Until he signed with Golden State Warriors.
Donte DiVincenzo’s 3&D Potential
Yes, another championship team acquired his services. And, ladies and gentlemen, he may be the player the Bay Area didn’t know they needed. Here’s a bold statement: he is the perfect hybrid between Gary Payton II and Otto Porter.
DiVincenzo arrived at the right place to exploit his full potential on both sides of the court. With an earned reputation for being an excellent accompaniment to stars as he did in Milwaukee, he will certainly try to do so with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
To play for the Golden State Warriors you have to do four things well: be smart, move without the basketball, shoot threes with great efficiency, and defend multiple positions. Donte fits these criteria like a glove.
Intelligence is hard to quantify. Basketball IQ is seen on the floor, elusive to track but you know it watching a player up close.
While intelligence is hard to measure, the ability to move without the ball and shoot threes with efficiency and volume is not. Like Otto Porter, and to some extent Gary Payton II from the corners, Donte is a competent shooter. According to NBA.com/STATS, he scored 44 of his 93 (38.1%) catch and shoot three-point attempts in 2020/21 and 59 of 136 (36.2%) in 2021/22.
This will improve the Warriors’ spacing and allow Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Draymond Green, to break to the hoop and generate opportunities for themselves and their teammates. Also, to his credit, he is a very underrated secondary generator. In his 25 games with Sacramento, he handed out 18.6% of the team’s total assists over that span.
And on defense? Taking his last season in which he was healthy and at full strength – 2020-21 – according to BBall Index data he ranked in the 90th percentile in LEBRON Defensive Points Saved and 87th percentile in D-LEBRON. When compared to his former teammate Pat Connaughton in the previous season, the Bucks shooter had 69.8% LEBRON Defensive Points Saved and 61.5% D-LEBRON, the difference is intriguing.
The Warriors freed up some salary cap by letting go of Gary Payton II, Otto Porter, Nemanja Bjelica, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damion Lee; but perhaps they found a hidden gem who embodies Warrior culture and will help replace their impact.
With discipline, intelligence, solidarity, camaraderie, organization, sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears, Donte DiVincenzo is still looking for his best; and in The Bay, the waves could move in his favor. Like the tide, he just needs a good push, quietly, when the night falls and nobody is around to see him work.