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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Desmond Bane

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NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond Bane was born nearly a thousand miles away from Dallas, but after watching him play four years of college ball in Fort Worth, there’s a strong argument for it to become his permanent home.

The Specs

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 214.5

Wingspan: 6’4.25”

Key Notes

Offense

  • Crazy high IQ, you can tell he is a multi-year veteran
  • Combination of finesse and strength makes him a good finisher
  • Possibly the best shooter in the draft, can make any kind of shot (C&S, off the dribble, driving pull-ups)
  • Reliable ball-handling and pick-and-roll ability for a combo guard
  • Good passer, better when he’s not dribbling
  • Not a huge bag in terms of dribble moves, but has a few staples that are effective
  • Not very fast or bouncy

Defense

  • IQ shows again, especially on rotations, help, screens, communicating with teammates
  • Excellent team defender
  • Really good at closing out in a disciplined manner
  • Defense looks really strong in the PnR and in ISO situations
  • Active, swiping hands
  • Strength + engagement makes it difficult for anyone to back him down
  • Not a great rim protector, again due to the lack of bounce

Active Player Comparisons

If everything goes wrong: Austin Rivers

If everything goes right: Reggie Jackson + more off-ball threat

Most Realistic Outcome: Gary Trent Jr. + more passing

Stats and Accomplishments

Career Averages:

Best Games Last Season

vs. George Mason

30 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 12-16 FGA (75%), 5-7 3PA (71.4%)

vs. Texas Tech

27 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 10-15 FGA (66.7%), 6-8 3PA (75%)

3 Key Things

  • The Exceptional Shooting

Bane is an absolutely unreal shooter. I know I said earlier that he was possibly the best shooter in the draft, and that’s due to his pure versatility. Bane can play like a pure shooting guard. He averaged 1.131 points per possession off catch-and-shoot shots last season, which placed him the 77th percentile per Synergy Sports. But he’s also an exceptional shooter off the bounce. He was in the 91st percentile of spot-up jumpers and 92nd percentile of shots off-the-dribble. No matter how he’s shooting it, Bane is an incredibly talented shooter. His 78-of-176 shooting from three placed him the 96th percentile of three-point shooters. His shooting ability is just absurd.

  • A Useful Combo Guard

Usually, I am very low on prospects who are listed as combo guards. This is because these prospects are typically missing the talent to play full-time point or shooting guard. But when it comes to Desmond Bane, this is someone who can play either possession. He’s a proven ball-handler, averaging .858 points per possession as the pick-and-roll ball handler according to Synergy Sports. He generated 231 points out of 234 pick-and-roll possessions, earning him the 85th percentile. This is incredible useful when you think of him next to Luka Doncic. Bane can either be an off-ball shooting threat or run the offense himself.

  • Leadership

This one is difficult to describe because there are no numbers to support it, but I think Bane’s leadership is one of the most desirable parts of his game. He played four seasons in one of the toughest conferences college basketball has, often leading a new group of players each season. Desmond Bane is 8 months and 3 days older than Doncic. Bane’s maturity not only offers the Mavericks a ready to play guard, but also gives them more leadership.

The Checklist

Role with the Mavericks

Bane could function as both a back-up wing or ball handler. He would quickly work himself up to the top of the bench as he provides offensive production from both his shooting and play making. He could give the starting wings a rest, or even come in to run the offense when Doncic needs a breather. It’s very realistic that he could become the Mavericks sixth or seventh man by the end of the season.

Summary

Of all the prospects in this year’s draft, Bane is who I would say is the safest. There aren’t any glaring flaws to his game. He also has four years of proven production on his resume. While he may not have a very high ceiling, the chances of his game not translating to the next level are so low. I’m confident that if you threw him on an NBA floor today, he would be just fine. If his finishing and defense get a bit better, he’ll hit his ceiling. But even as he is now, the Mavericks should consider taking him not just at 31, but even 18.