Re-Grading the Knicks 2023 Offseason Moves Ahead of the Playoffs

The New York Knicks' journey to the 2024 NBA postseason didn't happen overnight, but it did take a slew of really important decisions to get the ball rolling back to the playoffs.
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard
Apr 12, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) talks with guard / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Signing Donte DiVincenzo

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) dribbles up court
New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) dribbles up court / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Knicks landed Donte DiVincenzo in free agency last summer, it originally felt like a lesser acquisition in light of the fact the team was expected to be hunting for a superstar player to run alongside Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle that upcoming season.

Instead, Leon Rose’s first splash of the offseason was to sign DiVincenzo, a mid-level player with an underwhelming resume, for another developing piece that could bring shooting depth to the Knicks roster. In his first six seasons, DiVincenzo was stuck behind different star pieces in Milwaukee, Sacramento, and Golden State that didn’t allow him to get up many shots and he only had two years with over 10 points per game. 

Coming over to New York, the Knicks had the key to unlock his potential and release the three-point shooting prowess they craved. Tagging up with former teammates in Brunson and Josh Hart, who know each other’s games well, the 27-year-old earned a spot in the starting lineup and instantly became one of the best downtown marksmen in the entire league.

Playing in a career-high 81 games this season, DiVincenzo scored 15.5 points per contest (also a career-high) on 44.3% shooting with 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He was an absolute lightning rod from behind the arc, shooting 40% on 3.5 makes in 8.7 three-point attempts per game to hang with company the likes of three-point masters Steph Curry and Luca Doncic for most of the year. 

DiVincenzo’s inferno from deep helped place the Knicks in the top 10 of the NBA in three-pointers made at a rate of 13.2 per game and a 4.4% growth from the 2022 season. It also gave a hand in the 14th-best three-pointing percentage, 7th-ranked offensive rating, and 19th in points per game at 119.2 that blew half of their opponents out of the water.

It wasn’t just the shooting from DiVincenzo that stands out, but his relentless energy and leadership at the two-guard spot. In the minutes where Brunson and Hart were benched, DiVincenzo was more than comfortable taking over control of the offense. He can attack the rim and put pressure on the defense to not foul or dish the rock to his open teammates for the quality shots that will become critical in the playoffs. 

At any point in the game, you’ll likely see DiVincenzo diving on the floor for the loose balls or intercepting an errant pass across the court and taking it the other direction for transition points. He can bring that defensive energy that Tom Thibodeau desires of his players in his system and it’s only grown for DiVincenzo in his time in New York with his collegiate teammates. 

With playoffs starting Saturday, DiVincenzo will be a player that opposing teams prepare for outside of Jalen Brunson. Taking away the point guard alone won’t be enough of a strategy to slow down the Knicks at large, as they now have a handful of perimeter men who can knock it down and silence a team with dagger threes. 

Leon Rose foresaw this coming after a difficult series in Miami last postseason and he knew he had to add a guy like DiVincenzo to grow the game of chess a little more this time around.

Grade: A