The NBA is most exciting when young stars are budding across the league. The talent pool is ridiculous in the Association. Some players are just waiting to sprout into the player they have the potential to be. It is best to take this subject by division since I want to pick a breakout player for every team. The Central Division holds the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Pistons. This division has been riddled with paradigm shifts since Jordan entered the league in the 80s. With each team looking to regain control of the division over the leading Bucks. They will each need all the help they can get. The key to that is finding great talent from within.
Donte was an incredible college player for Villanova (Photo by: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
If you are a Milwaukee Bucks fan, then Donte DiVincenzo has already broken out and is guaranteed to become a good player in this league. Allow me to catch everyone else up who has not seen enough games to know this kid will be the real deal. Unlike the other players I write about, his offensive game is not the improvement to look for. He has a chance to be the second most important player on this team aside from Giannis. Great players like Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are and will be better than him this season, but when it comes to building a culture, this is the guy you want. His off-ball movement is the most underrated skill in all of the basketball right now. He runs off screens, cuts to the basket, and generally is a "right place, right time" player on both ends of the ball. Donte comes up with loose balls, hits clutch shots, gets open, and is given no credit for it.
Giannis has immense gravity on the floor and sucks in the defense more than any other player. Everyone on the Bucks could take advantage of that as Donte does. However, they do not have the same instincts and basketball IQ as DiVincenzo. He may not have all the skill in the world but is exceptional at taking what is available to him. I expect him to start 40+ games, barring any unforeseen injury. With this starting role, I can see an uptick in every stat across the board. Steals/blocks, assists, and three-point shooting efficiency all need to improve for this breakout season to come to fruition. Spacing the floor next to Giannis is key to getting playing time and gaining his trust. Shooting even 35% would put him around league average, and mixed with the rest of his intangibles, will make him a consistent starter. Donte is a can't-miss breakout player this season. He already has the skill to make this next step. All DiVincenzo needed was the trust and playing time to do so. He earned both last year and will capitalize on it this season.
Author: Daniel O'Donovan