Desmond Bane celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday. Though the NBA draft was originally set to be on the same date, he’ll now have to wait until Oct. 16 to hear his name called.
He was lightly recruited coming out of Seton Catholic High School in Indiana, where there were just 23 students in his graduating class, but Bane had an excellent college career at TCU. As a senior, he averaged 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists – he was the only player in the Big 12’s top 10 in all three categories – and he shot 44.2 percent from three-point territory on 6.5 attempts per game.
There’s little question Bane is one of the best shooters in the draft. While some NBA evaluators might prefer the notion of “upside,” Bane’s track record at TCU shows his shooting is obviously no fluke. He hit 43.3 percent from long distance in college and is adept moving off the ball with apparently effortless deep NBA range.
Bane can handle the ball and shoot off the dribble, as well. He’s not an incredible playmaker, but he can facilitate out of the pick-and-roll and also knows how to either penetrate or pull up effectively when a defender flies past him on a closeout.
One advantage Bane has over many of the younger prospects in the draft is his strength, and he’s good at using his muscle to plow through contact. That’s also helpful defensively and bolsters Bane’s versatility. He looks like someone who can guard three or four positions in the NBA, which is a massive asset in a league that values “positionless” players.
As early as his freshman year, Bane earned a reputation as a clutch player. He enjoys taking the big shot.
Bane isn’t super explosive, which might cast a bit of doubt on the defensive versatility we mentioned. He’s clearly a very intelligent player, and he’ll need to anticipate actions and avoid mistakes in the NBA on defense. Some players have the athleticism to mitigate or erase mistakes – Matisse Thybulle comes to mind – but Bane doesn’t look to be one of them.
With a reported wingspan of 6-foot-4, Bane has below-average length for his position. That’s not a tremendous negative, but it is another reason why he’ll have to rely on some of his impressive non-physical tools.
The reality is that he’d likely be more attractive to NBA teams if he was 19 years old instead of 22. His game is pretty refined, which gives him a higher chance at making important contributions right away but also means he might not have much more room to develop.
If Bane is available when they’re drafting at No. 34 or No. 36, the Sixers should be very interested. His strengths line up well with the team needs – shooting, maturity, a secondary pick-and-roll option who can guard multiple positions and be used in a wide variety of lineups.
Bane might be a first-round possibility for the Sixers, too, provided that the Thunder’s pick conveys. His stock seems to be rising – the plugged-in Sam Vecenie of The Athletic had Bane at No. 26 on his latest big board – and it appears he’d be a great fit in Philadelphia.
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