Desmond Bane was a pre-draft riser among most draft junkies, but once again, NBA GMs passed on an older prospect with a negative wingspan. Yes, that sounds super familiar.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor praised Bane’s shooting and secondary playmaking on numerous episodes of The Mismatch, proclaiming that he was going to be the steal of the draft. On a number of boards in NBA Twitter, he was considered a top-20 prospect. Surely, he wasn’t going to fall as far as he did.
And like how the Memphis Grizzlies did with Brandon Clarke, NBA front offices undervalued the older prospect, and Zach Kleiman made his move to go grab their guy.
Now, the Grizzlies continue their trek of adding every popular player in NBA Draft Twitter, and they bolstered its wing depth with one of the draft’s best shooters. The stats back it up too, as Bane shot 44.2% from deep on 6.5 attempts per game (208 total) this past season at TCU, while also finishing in the 91st percentile in spot-up shooting (1.149 points per possession).
Desmond Bane is the best shooter in the draft pic.twitter.com/6bBEk5pQCx— Mavs Draft (@MavsDraft) November 17, 2020
While Memphis fans should be rejoicing over the Grizzlies getting another shooter — an evergreen weakness on Grizzly rosters — they should also be ecstatic about acquiring a 3-point marksman that’s not just a specialist. He’s much more rounded offensively than your typical 3-point sniper.
While he thrived as a spot-up shooter, Bane flashed potential as a creator off the dribble, ranking in the 92nd percentile in points per dribble jumper (1.07) and as the best off-screen scorer in the Big 12 (2.9 points per game). This is going to bode well for Bane at the next level, because it’ll be harder for teams to limit his offensive impact.
For the league’s elite 3-point marksman — like Joe Harris, a player he likens himself to become — more of their looks are coming off pindowns and dribble hand-off’s. If the defense attacks too hard there, he could create his own shot off the dribble — whether it’s taking an additional dribble to create space for another jumper, or to find scoring opportunities in the paint.
Where he could also exploit charging defenders is as a playmaker. Many draft analysts had Bane as a top-level playmaker in the draft, behind 3rd overall pick LaMelo Ball.
Desmond Bane is also, IMO, the best off-PG passer in the draft. Coupling his shooting ability (off movement, C&S, and off bounce) with his ability to create off closeouts and out of PnRs/DHOs gives him a unique ability to impact games. He's so far from one dimensional. pic.twitter.com/UicA7BQsc5— Spencer (@SKPearlman) November 12, 2020
This area of his game is probably why The Ringer Draft guide compares him to Malcolm Brogdon and Alex Caruso. Like those two players, Bane won’t be somebody that’d be a primary facilitator for an NBA offense. He’s a great secondary playmaker to have, while also serving as a potent floor-spacer as well.
As previously mentioned, Bane’s playmaking is a factor off DHOs and coming off screens. Teams will learn they will have 2 choices when guarding Desmond Bane:
- Play the drive and risk a 3-ball.
- Play the jumper and allow Bane to create off the dribble.
Possessing a player with Bane’s skillset will open up a plethora of options for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Obviously, two of the players that’d benefit the most here are Ja Morant and Tyus Jones. In Bane, the two floor generals would acquire another 3-point target to kick out on drives. They also have another player that could alleviate playmaking responsibilities from them and give them more scoring opportunities.
With Jaren Jackson Jr. likely out for an undisclosed period of time to start the season, Ja Morant is the team’s best scorer. The offense will need to be tweaked to open up chances for him, and Bane is a good player to start with here. He could use his basketball IQ and the threat of his jumper to attack off the bounce, find Ja, and allow him to catch the defense in disarray.
If Bane spends heavy minutes next to the bench unit, it should be heavenly for Tyus Jones. Already one of the best floor leaders among reserve guards, Jones also emerged as one of the best spot-up shooters in the league last season. Now, he has a plethora of secondary playmakers (Bane, De’Anthony Melton, Kyle Anderson, Brandon Clarke, Grayson Allen and Xavier Tillman) that’ll allow him to relocate for more catch-and-shoot looks.
Bane’s shooting and playmaking will also drive gravity away from the Grizzlies wings as well. De’Anthony Melton won’t have too much pressure to create for himself and others, Dillon Brooks doesn’t have to do as much (whether he will or not is more of the question, for a different time), and it’ll create looks for Grayson Allen — the Grizzlies’ best 3-point shooting wing last season.
Desmond Bane will fill in some of the holes from last year’s rotation, and it gives the Grizzlies flexibility. He can start at the 2 or 3 alongside Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks to give the starting 5 more spacing. He can give the bench some size on the perimeter alongside two of Jones, Melton, and Allen, making that bench more dangerous.
Desmond Bane is a 3-point sniper, but the additional skills he adds give him an “elite role player” ceiling.
On the other side of the ball, he’ll be a physical wing that can switch across positions and shore up Jaren’s rebounding woes as another committee rebounder. However, his offensive upside could make him a great complementary player for the next great Memphis Grizzlies team.
What’s great about Bane’s skillset is he could evolve into any type of role player. If his wingspan limits him in most areas, but he’s still a potent 3-point weapon, he’s more of a Joe Harris. If he can use his size to create scoring opportunities, hit 3’s at a high volume, and serve as a secondary playmaker, an Eric Gordon ceiling isn’t out of the question. If his efficiency is remarkable, and he’s a multi-positional defender and secondary playmaker, he can be another Malcolm Brogdon. Or even if the jumper isn’t what it is at TCU, given his intangibles, he can be another Alex Caruso, who makes winning plays on both ends of the floor.
Desmond Bane’s skillset is perfect for any system in the modern NBA. Between that and his toughness/mentality, he will not fail.