Bucks

Allen’s Play Signaling End of DiVincenzo in Milwaukee

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The Milwaukee Bucks only had to surrender second-round picks for Grayson Allen this offseason.

Allen is a reliable wing, but Jon Horst and the Bucks view it as much more. With Donte DiVincenzo out since injuring his foot against Miami in the playoffs last year, the Bucks needed stable wings after the offseason departures of P.J. Tucker and Bryn Forbes.

The Bucks’ brass clearly had Allen targeted this offseason and quickly dealt for the Duke product. This wasn’t just a short-term move, as evidenced by the quick two-year, $20 million extension signed by Allen in October.

What does Allen extension mean?

Handing out a $10 million-per-year deal was a big decision particularly with the Bucks’ cap situation. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday all make over $30 million per season. Money is tight, and DiVincenzo was not offered the same extension Allen signed.

Both were 2018 draft picks who were eligible for rookie-deal extensions. Allen snatched his up, while the Bucks are in wait-and-see mode with DiVincenzo, who seems to be making progress towards a return.

The Bucks have to be stringent with their pocketbook. Despite DiVincenzo posting a strong season last year, two of his three seasons have ended with significant injuries.

The trade for Allen certainly feels like a DiVincenzo replacement move. With Donte due to hit free agency, Allen’s success and the Bucks’ cap situation, it seems likely this is DiVincenzo’s last ride in Milwaukee.

Allen and DiVincenzo have had similar trajectories in their careers to this point. Both had career years last year. The fact is, though, Allen is far more consistent, especially from deep.

DiVincenzo played a key role for the Bucks as a hard-working defender, who could rebound and knock down some shots. He had his best year in 2020-21, averaging 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. DiVincenzo, however, is a career sub-35 percent three-point shooter, while Allen is nearly 38 percent. Allen is also similarly athletic defensively and is a decent rebounder for a guard.

Allen, the 21st pick in 2018, set career highs in points (10.6), rebounds (3.2) and assists (2.2) per game last season. Clearly, the Bucks felt it wasn’t an aberration and boy, have they been rewarded.

Allen’s stock on the rise

While it was looked at as a solid deal, not many anticipated Allen would fit this seamlessly into the Bucks starting backcourt. Allen, however, seems to have made yet another jump, while DiVincenzo remains sidelined.

Allen is connecting on 42.6 percent of his three-point attempts, hitting 3.1 three-pointers per game and is averaging 13.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He has made 72 three-pointers (fourth most) and his 124.5 offensive rating is 12th in the NBA.

Allen picked up the pace in November, connecting on 48 percent shooting (48-for-100) overall and 45.8 percent from three-point range (44-for-96) in November.

Add in the Bucks cap situation and it’s unlikely they can afford anymore contracts that aren’t minimum deals with Giannis, Middleton, Holiday, Allen, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez and likely higher priorities in a larger Bobby Portis extension looming after the season.

The Bucks seem to have a solid core, and it is one Allen has created a niche for himself now and the future.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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