The narrative around the Knicks has shifted dramatically over the past seven days.
Leon Rose is a magician, and he worked his magic once again, sending Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, and Ryan Arcidiacono for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks. Bogdanovic has quietly been one of the most efficient scorers in the league, and he’s been doing it at a high volume for a long time now. Burks is a Tom Thibodeau darling, and he’s already won over the hearts of Knick fans with his play in the 2020-21 Knicks season.
Sure, the Knicks went 1-2 over the course of the week, but the impact off the court has been far greater.
Things started off on Tuesday, as Taj Gibson reunited with the Knickerbockers once again. The Grizzlies, who are dealing with some injury problems in their own right, couldn’t overcome some sloppy play and efficient New York offense. The Knicks cruised to a 123-113 victory.
On Thursday, just hours after the deadline, the Knicks couldn’t overcome Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, who drained 18 threes. The Knicks’ injury bug reached its peak (hopefully), and due to the aforementioned trade, Jacob Toppin and Charlie Brown Jr. were suddenly thrust into playing legitimate minutes (in which neither impressed). Mavs 122, Knicks 108.
Finally, a healthy Tyrese Haliburton and a dangerous Pacers squad came to town. The debuts of Bogdanovic and Burks were spoiled, as the Pacers shot 61% from the field and scored 125 points. There were some positive takeaways, but it wasn’t the Knicks’ night.
All in all, the moves the Knicks made off of the court far overshadowed the product on the court.
Despite this, though, there has been one Knick who has benefitted more than any other, blossoming into a star in his own right.
His name is Donte DiVincenzo, and he is a DAWG.
After the January 27th game where Julius Randle went down with an injury, DiVo was averaging 11.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He was one of the most efficient three-point shooters in the league but seemed as if he had reached his NBA ceiling in that role.
In the seven games since then, the Big Ragu has assumed the second option on the squad alongside Jalen Brunson. In fact, one could almost argue that the two have effectively functioned as options 1A and 1B. DiVincenzo has been that good.
He’s been averaging 27.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, and his efficiency hasn’t skipped a beat. He’s still shooting 46.4% from the field, and maybe the most impressive stat I’ve seen is his three-point efficiency. He’s shooting 40.2% on 13.1 attempts per game. Those are Curry numbers. No joke.
In the three games this week, he put up a slash line of 27.3/3.3/4.0. 53/43/75 efficiency. Jeez. All-Star numbers.
As the playoff push continues for the Knicks, it’s exciting to think about how the different pieces on the roster will mesh and gel as we hit the home stretch. Donte DiVincenzo has established himself as one of the best value signings in the NBA and is showing us game after game that he can elevate his play to compete with the best in the league.