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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Desmond Bane

Age ain’t nothing but a number with Bane at 40

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Syracuse v TCU Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Desmond Bane, Guard, Texas Christian University (TCU)

  • 6’6” (6’4” wingspan), 215 lbs., 22 years old, from Richmond, Indiana
  • 2019-20 season: 32 games played, 36 minutes per game, 16.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 3.9 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game, 45 FG% field goal percentage (44% from three), 78.9% free throw shooter
  • Career: 141 games (114 games started), 30.3 minutes per game, 12.7 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game, 49.5 FG% field goal percentage (43.3% from three), 80.4% free throw shooter
  • ACCOLADES: First Team All-Big-12 (2020), Second Team All-Big-12 (2019), US Basketball Writers Association (2019, 2020)
  • ADVANCED STATS STRENGTHS (per Tankathon): Offensive Box +/- (4.8), Box +/- (9.8), Assist/Turnover Ratio (1.68), NBA 3 point percentage (38.1%)
  • ADVANCED STATS WEAKNESSES: Free Throw Attempt Rate (.131)
  • CURRENT BIG BOARD RANKINGS: 22nd (The Ringer), 30th (CBS Sports), 32nd (Tankathon), 41st (ESPN), 44th (The Athletic)

The Memphis Grizzlies are ahead of schedule in their rebuild. In year one, Memphis found themselves on the cusp of a playoff run due in part to the development of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. The next step is to address an issue that has hung over the franchise since its humble beginnings in Vancouver: perimeter scoring. If the playoffs are any indication, perimeter scoring is going to pivotal element of success in the West for the next decade as teams are filled with guards that can score at a high level from all three levels.

The Grizzlies have some perimeter scoring in Dillon Brooks and an improving Grayson Allen that developed into the Grizzlies most dependable three point threat in the bubble. John Konchar, who was a great three-point threat for the Memphis Hustle, could add another perimeter scorer to the Grizzlies rotation, if he sees more minutes next season. But in a league that continues to become more perimeter-focused, it is imperative to have dependable shooters in the starting lineup and off the bench.

For this draft, I would love for the Grizzlies to maximize the value of the 40th pick by taking a wing that can add additional perimeter scoring and playmaking ability while also being a capable defender. The addition of a player of this caliber would improve the value of one of the best bench units in the NBA that will return Brandon Clarke, Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones and potentially De’Anthony Melton as well as the starting lineup.

If he is still available at the 40th pick, look no further than TCU guard Desmond Bane.

What He Does Well

Desmond Bane is an NBA-ready guard made for the culture Taylor Jenkins has established in Memphis.

The 6’6” wing plays extremely hard on both ends of the floor using his 215-pound muscular frame to make plays more than pure agility or explosiveness. Bane is a player that rarely does too much, playing within himself and making the right plays. Starting as a dangerous off-ball scorer with a set shot within Jamie Dixon’s offense at TCU, he started to show flashes of playmaking ability his senior season both in transition and in half-court offense. Possessing a high-basketball IQ, Bane was able to take care of the ball while making plays for himself and others out of the pick and roll leading TCU in points and assists last season.

In two of his final collegiate games, Bane faced two of the best defenses in the NCAA last season in Baylor and Kansas. What did he do with it? He led TCU to an upset over 2nd ranked Baylor with 23 points (5-8 3PT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block. He followed up that performance with a 24 point (6-10 3PT), 5 rebound, 4 assist performance against Kansas’ 10th ranked defense the following weekend. It was performances like these that led Bane to finish in the top 10 of the Big-12 in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

Desmond Bane may be one of the best perimeter shooters in this draft. At 44.2%, Bane outranks every top shooting guard Tankathon’s top 60 in three-point shooting percentage, while only coming second to consensus top 5 pick Anthony Edwards in three point attempt rate. Even with an unorthodox jumper, Bane was able to score efficiently and often from the perimeter finishing in the 77th percentile in catch and shoot jumpers in the half court and the 92nd percentile in shots off the dribble coming off of screens as well as beginning to incorporate step back jumpers into his game.

On defense, he is an active defender and communicator. Desmond Bane simply does not take plays off, and he’s one of the most mature defenders in the draft, not only because of his age but his approach to the game. Bane has a nose for the ball as someone who has shown the ability to clean the glass, hawk passing lanes, and no fear to dive for a loose ball. In Bane, I see a lot of what Luguentz Dort showed in the bubble with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a defender who isn’t the fastest but uses his strong build to contain the ball. Last season he only allowed 0.54 points per one-on-one possession (88th percentile) as an aggressive a defender at the point of attack.

If his play from college translates, Desmond Bane has the potential to be one of the biggest steals of the 2020 draft.

How He can Improve

One thing that will work against Desmond Bane that he can’t really change is his age. At 22 years old, the 3-year starter from TCU will fall victim to the same issue many have before him in the belief that he is a finished product after playing four seasons in college, leading him to slide due to less upside compared to younger prospects.

The one aspect that needs to improve in Bane’s game is his ability to finish at the rim. He isn’t the worst finisher, making 55% of his shots in the restricted area, but there is definitely room for improvement. While he has figured out how to be successful with his lack of quick twitch ability defensively, he struggles to blow by defenders and get all the way to the basket. If he can learn a consistent floater, that will help a ton in the pros if he continues to struggle to get all the way to the basket.

One thing that jumps off the stat sheet is Bane doesn’t get to the free throw line a ton, hitting his lowest mark his senior season. While he does make them at an 80% mark for his career when he does get there, it is shocking he only attempted 57 free throws compared to his 436 field goal attempts.

While these aspects of his game will be something to pay attention during the draft process, his positives are so high that his floor may be a 3&D specialist. Bane’s ability to stretch the floor as well as his high basketball IQ on both sides of the floor may land him a first-round grade regardless of his ability to get to the free throw line or attack the basket.

The fit and verdict

NCAA BASKETBALL: DEC 07 TCU at SMU Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Desmond Bane would be a great addition to this young Grizzlies squad. While the Grizzlies already have Dillon Brooks, Grayson Allen, and potentially De’Anthony Melton at the shooting guard position, I believe the addition of Bane gives the Grizzlies even more flexibility on both ends of the floor.

Offensively, you have a larger playmaker to play alongside Tyus Jones as well as another reliable three-point shooter to take some focus off of Allen on the perimeter. With the injection of Justise Winslow into the Grizzlies lineup, Bane allows the Grizzlies to effectively space the floor as Bane will keep defenders honest, unlike Kyle Anderson who is more at home driving to the basket than standing on the perimeter making threes. Defensively, Bane adds another scrappy defender to a second unit that was already a terror last season. The addition of Bane is the rich getting richer, as they improve upon one of the best bench units in the NBA.

The question is will he be there at 40? That is hard to answer. If he were younger, I would say “absolutely not,” but NBA franchises habitually pass on 4-year players for younger players. Bane would fit right in with teams such as the Celtics, Lakers or Raptors who rank towards the top of the league in team defense. The addition of another plus defender who is an efficient perimeter scorer will only make them harder out’s come next season’s playoffs. With the current circumstances of the COVID world, teams could opt for the older, proven commodity instead of embracing another young project.

If teams go in a different direction and the more seasoned Bane falls to 40, let Bane liberate Grind City with three’s and great defense in Beale Street Blue. I would love to see this happen, as I believe he would be a great fit. However, I just don’t see an All Big-12 player that ranked in the top 10 in numerous categories falls that far, but it wouldn’t be the first time seeing as Dillon Brooks fell to the 45th pick in 2017.

Verdict: A contender could take him late in the first round due to his shooting ability and defensive capabilities (The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors are my teams to watch) but given the trend of older players sliding in the draft I believe the Grizzlies could potentially get a steal at the 40th pick.

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