Looking at Desmond Bane - a 6’5”, 220 pound senior combo guard with elite shooting splits (49.5/43.3/80.4 over his college career) - it’s hard not to compare him to someone like Malcolm Brogdon. The consensus with Brogdon was that because he lacked elite athleticism and ball handling ability, he would struggle to make the transition to the NBA game.
Enter Desmond Bane in the 2020 draft. Most scouting reports mention a lack of elite athleticism and elite ball handling ability in his “weaknesses” column. And while it’s a definite area for improvement, Bane brings much more to the table. Like Malcolm Brogdon before him, Bane’s most important offensive skill is his shooting.
And Bane can shoot the lights out.
Per game: 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 2.3 turnovers, 45.2/44.2/78.9 shooting splits
Advanced: 57.3% True Shooting, 9.8 box plus-minus (7.1 offensive, 2.6 defensive), .183 win shares per 40
Physical: 22 years old, 6’5” with a 6’4” wingspan, 220 pounds
While shooting is by far the biggest strength in Bane’s offensive game, he is much more than simply a movement shooter. His overall offense ranked in the 81st percentile among all college players, and as a jump-shooter he was in the 89th percentile, per Synergy. He is a lethal and versatile offensive weapon capable of punishing defenses in spot-up situations (91st percentile), as a pick-and-roll ball handler (76th percentile), and as an off-the-dribble shooter (92nd percentile). Bane even has a reliable floater, which ranked in the 96th percentile.
From his junior season to his senior season, Bane nearly doubled his assist percentage (13.6% to 26%) and saw a significant increase in overall usage rate (19.5% to 24.4%). In 2019-20, Bane was thrust into more of a playmaking role in TCU’s offense after the departure of Alex Robinson, who dished 6.9 assists per game in 2018-19. While Bane’s overall efficiency dipped as a result of his altered role, he was still an elite offensive player in the half-court.
Bane is a great rebounder for his position (7 rebounds per 40) and reads defenses well with the ball in his hands. He isn’t a flashy passer, but he has a knack for finding the open man after manipulating the defense with his eyes.
Huge fan of Desmond Bane's PnR passing. Reads are not particularly advanced, but he wins big with:— Spencer (@SKPearlman) April 2, 2020
- ball, dribble, and head/eye fakes to get the defense moving
- timing and passing at the *PERFECT* time
- live-action passing
- taking what the defense gives him pic.twitter.com/9qnpIdBE2w
As a defender, Bane is solid across the board, but not great in any particular area. He switched 1-4 at the college level, hinting at some defensive versatility (although he’ll likely guard mostly wings in the NBA).
At a solid 220 pounds with good strength in both his upper and lower body, Bane also has an NBA-ready body. Behold:
One of Bane’s most glaring weaknesses is his lack of length. He has a rare negative wingspan of just 6’4” compared to his 6’5” frame. This will limit his defensive upside, especially when switching onto 3s and 4s in the NBA.
Although athleticism isn’t everything (say g’day, Joe Ingles), elite athleticism can help defenders recover after they’ve been beaten off the dribble. Bane has good, but not great athleticism. Coupled with his lack of length, this could be a bad sign for his defensive role at the NBA level. Without the speed and quickness to guard most point guards, and without the length to guard a lot of the bigger wings, he’ll have to work hard at positional defending and making sure he’s in the right spot at all times in order to hold his own on the defensive side of the ball.
Bane’s only real hole in his offensive game is his lack of finishing ability. He ranked in the 33rd percentile as a rim finisher, and this poor finishing likely impacted his significant dip in free throw rate over the last two seasons. He’ll need to figure out how to finish against longer defenders.
Absolutely. Bane is an elite shooter in a variety of locations as a spot-up shooter or coming off screens. He can create off the dribble for himself and others, and has an all-around offensive game that should fit well next to Donovan Mitchell. His age falls right in line with Donovan’s timeline, and in today’s NBA you can never have too many shooters. Even with some question marks about his defensive upside, Bane would fit well in Utah, and could fill the hole at shooting guard once Mitchell takes over as the point guard moving forward.
Shades of: Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Gordon, JJ Redick