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Steve Kerr: Tom Thibodeau will ‘love’ Donte DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Steve Kerr: Tom Thibodeau will ‘love’ Donte DiVincenzo

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr believes New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau will love Donte DiVincenzo, who the Knicks signed to a four-year, $50 million deal earlier in free agency after declining his $4.7 million player option with the Warriors.

“He’s going to love him,” Kerr said during one of Golden State’s summer league games at the Thomas & Mack Center. “Tom’s going to love him, because Donte is a grinder. He’s gritty and he plays hard every possession. Tom is going to love that.”

Knicks team president Leon Rose raved about DiVincenzo, saying he is a “perfect fit to the culture we continue to establish.”

DiVincenzo signing with the Knicks reunites him with former Villanova Wildcat teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, who he won a National Championship with in 2015-2016.

“His competitiveness is going to fit right in. The Knicks really struck me as a competitive group last year,” Kerr said. “(Thibodeau) is going to love him, then the Villanova connection with Josh and Jalen. That’s real, those guys are champions together from college. I think that connection will help, and then he’ll give them another two-way player, another guy who can handle the ball and play off of it, and defend on the other end. Guys like that are super-valuable.”

With the Warriors last season, DiVincenzo was uber-productive off the bench. He shot a career-high 39.7 percent from 3-point-land on 5.3 attempts per game, averaging 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

“He worked. He was in the gym every day working on his shot,” Kerr said. “It just took him a few weeks — he started out a little slowly — and then once he was healthy and really found his rhythm playing 28, 30 minutes every night, he really caught fire. It was not unexpected, because we knew what he was capable of.

“Love Donte. Plays with so much energy and passion every night. He’s just tough. He competes every possession, gets into the ball-handler, flies all over the court, great rebounder flying in from the weak side. Shot it really well for us last year. Combo guard, makes plays, but can play off the ball, too. Really good all-around player.”

Statistically, DiVincenzo was great, but he was also great analytically. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Warriors were 1.4 points per 100 possessions better with DiVincenzo on the floor.

It’s unclear if DiVincenzo will start or come off the bench for the Knicks next season, but one thing is clear. The Knicks got an absolute steal in DiVincenzo.

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