Everything You Need To Know About Desmond Bane

Desmond Bane is one of the best shooters in this draft. His on and off-ball scoring versatility will make him an instant contributor in a rotation.

There are a handful of prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft who will fall to the middle or late first round but immediately contribute to winning basketball. Desmond Bane is at the top of that list. Even though TCU didn’t have great success during his tenure, Bane saw consistent improvement as he developed into an excellent player.

This season, Bane was one of the most efficient and productive wings as he averaged 16.6 points, 3.9 assists, and 6.3 rebounds with 45/44/79 shooting splits. He also scored 0.986 points per possession (PPP) overall (81st percentile) and 1.121 PPP (89th percentile) on all jump shots, per Synergy. With a well-rounded scoring repertoire and an adequate defensive skillset, Bane can contribute to a contender’s rotation from day one.

When it comes to shooting, there aren’t many who are as efficient or versatile as Bane. He is a threat on or off the ball and is consistently productive. As Bane establishes a more substantial role in the NBA, he will likely be used as mostly an off-ball shooter. This season, Bane excelled in this role as he scored 1.149 PPP when spotting up (91st percentile), 0.938 PPP (62nd percentile) when running off screens, and 1.131 PPP (77th percentile) when shooting off the catch.

Here, we see how compelling Bane is when he runs off screens. As the ball rotates, Bane times his cut as his defender peeks towards the ball. Bane then explodes towards the baseline and runs off the cross-screen. Since the defender got caught ball-watching, he is well behind Bane. The defender attempts to truncate the gap by going over the screen. Bane recognizes the path his defender is taking, so instead of rotating to the wing, Bane settles in the corner for the open three.

Here again, Bane beats the same defender with his off-ball movement a few possessions later. TCU sets up their offense in a similar fashion where Bane has a cross-screen waiting for him on the opposite side of the paint. Knowing he got burned not too long ago, Bane’s defender is intent on staying between Bane and the ball. Instead of impetuously barreling through his defender and the cross-screen, Bane uses the second option. Bane jab steps towards the baseline as if he is taking the same path as before. This move momentarily freezes the defender before Bane runs off the down screen for the open three.

Bane’s off-ball movement is reminiscent of long time NBA veterans. He uses his screens to perfection while using well-timed change-of-pace action to confuse his defender. Despite a slightly awkward release, Bane’s shooting mechanics are quick, consistent, and reliable.

Even though he is an excellent off-ball shooter, Bane’s real threat comes with his on-ball shot creation. This season, Bane scored 1.068 PPP (92nd percentile) when shooting off the dribble. He also scored 0.858 PPP (76th percentile) as the pick-and-roll ball handler and 1.259 PPP (97th percentile) in isolation.

Bane isn’t an elite athlete and lacks the typical length of a wing, but the same characteristics that make him an effective off-ball shooter translate to when he has the ball. By changing his pace and fully utilizing his quick release, Bane consistently keeps defenders on edge.

Bane does an excellent job of creating an open jumper out of the pick-and-roll in the below clip. Once his defender gets hung up on the screen, Bane knows that he will get an excellent look. As he dribbles off the screen, Bane uses a hang dribble to see how the drop defender will react. If the defender comes too high, Bane can throw a pocket pass or lob to the roll man as the lane is wide open. Instead, Bane identifies that the defender retreats with the roll man, essentially leaving Bane open. Bane proceeds to take one more dribble so he can enter his shot in rhythm and knocks down the jumper.

The point-of-attack defense wasn’t stellar, but Bane showed his ability to navigate a screen, dissect numerous reads, and make the correct decision. He will see this situation countless times in the NBA as he carves out his role in the rotation.

Again, Bane shows his ability to knock down a dribble jumper. The defense switches the slip screen this time, but Bane is still matched up against an opposing guard. Bane begins to drive hard to his right and then slams on the breaks to execute a step-back jumper with significant space between them.

This move is another we routinely see in NBA games. It has become one of the most common actions for shot creation and is encouraging that Bane already has this in his arsenal.

The spatial awareness and body control with Bane’s shot creation are very encouraging. However, there are some concerns. With a negative wingspan of 6’5, Bane struggles to finish around the rim. Additionally, this lack of length requires him to create substantial space on jumpers, which his inconsistent ball handling may not allow against NBA defenders.

This season, Bane scored only 1.014 PPP (33rd percentile) when shooting around the rim. In the below clip, we see how Bane’s lack of length and explosiveness limits his at-rim finishing. As Bane dribbles off the screen, he struggles to create space with his dribbling as he doesn’t fully commit to the hesitation dribble. Bane continues his drive, but since he lacks any length, he cannot properly extend with his right hand, and his shot gets turned away.

Finishing at the rim will likely never be a valuable part of Bane’s game because, you know, he can’t change his wingspan, at least not in a way anyone should encourage. This limitation will encourage defenders to run him off the arc more aggressively and funnel him to the rim.

This would be a significant issue; however, Bane has shown off an extremely reliable counter. While it isn’t the most efficient basketball shot, the floater is a skill Bane has become very comfortable with.

This season, Bane scored 1.182 PPP (96th percentile) on floaters. As we can see below, Bane’s soft shooting touch easily translates to this skill. Bane’s defender is pressing him well beyond the arc to ensure that Bane can’t take a jumper. Bane obliges his defender’s wishes and drives the lane. As he approaches the rim protector, Bane slams on the breaks to avoid a charge and drops in a perfectly weighted floater.

When it comes to a versatile, NBA ready scoring repertoire, few are more impressive than Bane. Bane will mostly be utilized as a secondary scorer who can fill any role that is needed.

While scoring will be his focus, Bane is also an adequate playmaker. He won’t initiate the offense or lead a team in assists, but he is a reliable decision-maker. When factoring in his passes, Bane scored 1.268 PPP (92nd percentile) in the half-court offense. He is an accurate passer who can accurately read the defense.

Speaking of defense, this is the most significant area of concern with Bane’s game. Before I go on, I want to be clear that Bane isn’t a bad defender, but his offensive limitations – length and explosiveness – are exacerbated on defense. Bane is generally in the correct position, but his lack of length, lateral quickness, and explosiveness limit his upside.

Here, Bane initially does a good job of getting over the screen to stay with his man. However, Bane is still slightly behind the ball-handler. Once the ball-handler picks up his dribble, Bane doesn’t have the foot speed or lateral quickness to adjust and contest.

Again, Bane shows how his physical, and in this case fundamental, deficiencies hinder him on defense. As Bane closes out, he takes a two-footed jump stop. This decision ensures that he will be off-balance and slow to react. The ball-handler proceeds to blow past Bane’s sloppy closeout with easy. Lacking the lateral quickness to reposition himself, Bane makes a half-hearted steal attempt that never has a chance.

Bane won’t single-handedly ruin a defense, but he won’t be defender the best players. His physical limitations immediately put him a step behind. They also rebuff his attempts to recover when he makes a fundamental mistake.

Going forward, Desmond Bane is going to contribute to a contender’s rotation immediately. He is one of the best shot makers in this class, and he can be used in a myriad of ways. Whether he is running off screens, running the pick-and-roll, or in isolation, Bane is always a threat to score. Once he irons out some of his defensive kinks, he should be an adequate rotation defender.

Since Bane is an older prospect who likely doesn’t have much more room to grow, he will probably be drafted in the middle-to-late first round in the 2020 NBA Draft. Simply due to his age and wingspan, a playoff team will be gifted an elite shooter in Desmond Bane.

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