Redskin

Bucks’ Donte DiVincenzo to miss rest of playoffs with ankle injury


How big of a loss is this?

John Hollinger, NBA senior columnist: It shouldn’t impact the current mismatch against Miami, but the next round against Brooklyn is a different story. The Bucks were built as a top-heavy unit around an elite starting five, but the bench is barely adequate.

While DiVincenzo is clearly fifth of five in that hierarchy, the drop-off in quality still stings. The starting role likely now falls to Pat Connaughton, which in turn means Connaughton’s backup wing role falls to … P.J. Tucker? Jeff Teague? Jordan Nwora? This was also the risk with this roster construction, and it’s come at the worst time.

Eric Nehm, Bucks beat writer: While DiVincenzo was viewed as the least important starter for the Bucks, he was going to play a massive role against the Nets.

Defensively, DiVincenzo could have served as the connector in a number of different schemes the Bucks could have employed against the Nets. Want to switch everything? DiVincenzo could take James Harden or Kyrie Irving for part of a possession. Want to bump Jrue Holiday onto Harden for a couple minutes? DiVincenzo could take Irving.

All season long, DiVincenzo has done the little things for the Bucks, and they will need all of those little things if they face the favorites in the East.

Who steps up?

Nehm: Bryn Forbes started in DiVincenzo’s place in the second half of Game 3, and he has been a difference-maker against the Heat with his 3-point shooting, but the Nets will target him on defense. If he cannot defend well enough in a larger role, the Bucks will need to turn to Connaughton and Tucker for more minutes.

Connaughton does not have the quickness to stick with Irving, but he has proven to be a capable defender across multiple positions, while hitting 37.1 percent of his 3s.

Tucker was expected to get more minutes against the Nets anyway because of his size and familiarity with Kevin Durant and Harden, but he may need to sop up some minutes at the two as well.

(Photo: Gary Dineen / NBAE via Getty Images)





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