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Despite concerns with his physical profile, Desmond Bane will have a good NBA career
Desmond Bane, Wing, TCU
Age: 22 (6/25/1998)
Desmond Bane college stats
The first thing that stands out when evaluating Desmond Bane is the elite jumper. After 575 attempts in college and connecting on over 43% of those shots, it’s pretty clear that Bane’s jumper will translate to the NBA. With a variety of moves on and off the ball to create space, Bane profiles as a player who will have tremendous gravity throughout his NBA career without being a player who attempts an exorbitant amount of shots.
The mechanics on Bane’s shot are clean and crisp, and his footwork will allow him to attempt jumpers at a variety of angles. As long as he maintains his strength or even improves upon it, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be supremely effective from the NBA three-point line.
When it comes to today’s NBA, the ability to check several boxes in order to play against several different teams and styles is incredibly important at the highest level. Offensively and defensively, Bane checks those boxes. With the ability to shoot in a variety of situations on catch and shoot, off the dribble, and drives to the basket, it will be difficult for defenders to shut him down completely in a playoff series. In addition, Bane is one of the better passers in this draft class and will make the right decision with the ball un his hands if defenses overplay him.
Defensively, Bane switches onto a variety of player types and performs moderately well in most situations. His lower body strength prevents him from being moved entirely by larger players, and though he can’t stick with the fastest players, he can stick with the next tier of athletic players within a team concept.
Role Player Potential
Having versatility at the NBA level generally leads to the ability to wear a variety of hats for an organization. Elite role players are coveted for their willingness to fill in the gaps and give the final push toward victory afters get a team most of the way there. Bane is the definition of a situational role player who can help out his team every single game in a variety of ways. One night, he will hit five threes off the bench and change the complexion of a game. The next, he will dish out five assists, handling point guard duties if the need arises.
At 6’6”, Bane isn’t the traditional size of a role player at guard. Often, players like him who make winning plays are 6’3” or shorter. There are certain scenarios and certain teams in which those types of players won’t be helpful. Bane will gain a comfort level in almost every scenario at the next level, depending on what he’s asked to do. As long as he’s not the sole creator on offense or stopper on defense, he will contribute to a winning basketball team.
While I keep mentioning 6’6”, I’ve neglected to mention the wingspan, which was most recently measured at 6’5”. To be an elite player in the NBA, there is generally a baseline for athleticism that most players have to meet. Nikola Jokić is an exception to the rule, and the majority of NBA stars outside of Jokić all have the combination of speed, quickness, strength, and explosiveness necessary to rise to star levels.
Now, that doesn’t mean Bane can’t be a good NBA player. There are several quality NBA guards and wings who have made things work despite a lack of top shelf athleticism. Fred VanVleet, Malcolm Brogdon, Joe Ingles, and even someone like Duncan Robinson have all made it work. J.J. Redick even has a similar negative wingspan and still provides excellent value. It’s all about recalibrating expectations though. Bane won’t be a star, but he could be a star role player.
If he doesn’t ever figure this out, it could become a limiting factor for him when he faces elite offenses or elite offensive players. Redick has had similar issues in the past, and it’s a very real concern.
The one tangible concern that many analysts have is Bane’s ceiling as a ball handler and playmaker at the next level. His vision is great, and he executes different kinds of passes well, but creating separation is a weakness of his. Partially because of athleticism concerns, but also because of a need to tighten up his dribbling.
This is a skill Bane can work on at the next level, and it will need to improve for him to see his full potential.
Projected Draft Range: Late lottery, mid first round
Denver Stiffs Big Board: 15th overall
Fit with the Nuggets
Why Bane makes sense for Denver
In terms of finding players ready to contribute at the NBA level, Bane is one of the safer prospects at this point in the draft process. Shooting is a translatable skill, and if Bane shoots it well at the NBA level, then he will most likely find his way onto the floor during his rookie season.
The Nuggets need cheap, reliable contributors as the rest of their roster becomes expensive. With questions at shooting guard long term, Bane offers a relatively safe projection as a player who could become a starting caliber shooting guard at the NBA level. His offensive versatility would give the Nuggets options in their starting lineup and open up new opportunities for players like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to flourish off the ball. Even if Bane only comes off the bench, if he shoots 40% and guards his position reasonably, that’s a quality bench player almost immediately.
Why Bane doesn’t make sense for Denver
The Nuggets have their sights set on a championship, and drafting Bane would be sign that the Nuggets are close and just need one final push. If the Nuggets aren’t as close as they believe and willingly pass on younger, more athletic options than a four year senior in Bane, then they may miss an opportunity to add to the top end of a championship rotation.
Adding Bane into the rotation also means adding another player who needs a little insulation defensively. Though he’s a smart, willing team defender, stronger and more athletic players may overpower him in a starting role, and quick, smaller guards may blaze past him. If the Nuggets are drafting Bane with the hope of starting him next to Murray and Porter, then I fear for the defense now and going forward.
When factoring in Denver’s draft position at 22nd overall, it’s important to calibrate expectations accordingly. The 22nd pick doesn’t often yield a starting caliber player, and more often than not, it doesn’t yield a rotation player at all. The last five years of 22nd overall picks have been Grant Williams, Chandler Hutchison, Jarrett Allen, Malachi Richardson, and Bobby Portis. One starter, two rotation players, and two (most likely) busts.
Adding Desmond Bane at 22 would be a great way for the Nuggets to replace Malik Beasley. After trading Beasley (and Juancho Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt) for the 22nd pick (and Keita Bates-Diop) it would be fascinating if the Nuggets were able to fill a backup wing position in their rotation with a more versatile piece. Bane is a smart, high IQ basketball player with a willingness to fill different roles and do what’s asked of him. Nuggets fans would appreciate that, and head coach Michael Malone would certainly appreciate it too.