In advance of the 2020 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops is evaluating prospects with a look at what the Atlanta Hawks might be considering from now until the selection process occurs. Dozens of prospects will profiled in this space and, in this edition, we examine TCU wing Desmond Bane.
For years, TCU wasn’t exactly seen as a basketball factory. In fact, the Horned Frogs failed to post a single 20-win season in the 11 years prior to Desmond Bane’s arrival in Fort Worth. In the four seasons Bane spent at TCU, however, the program saw a marked uptick under Jamie Dixon, averaging 21 wins per season, thanks in part to the contributions of Bane. Though he isn’t exactly on the mainstream radar for purposes of the 2020 NBA Draft, that tune changes when taking a deeper look at what could be an intriguing profile for teams to evaluate in the coming days.
Because Bane was a four-year player in college, he is on the older side, with his 22nd birthday approaching in June. That isn’t ideal, but it also isn’t disqualifying for a player that could check a lot of boxes and fit into a role at the next level. After garnering second team All-Big 12 honors as a junior, Bane was named as a first team All-Big 12 inclusion for his senior season, averaging 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Those numbers paint a picture of an effective player but, in short, Bane’s most important trait is his three-point shot.
After knocking down 38 percent of his long-range offerings in a small role during his freshman season, Bane converted more than 40 percent from three-point distance in each of his final three campaigns. Across those three seasons, he buried 44.2 percent on 4.9 attempts per game and, even with the shorter college line in play, Bane distinguished himself as a high-end shooter.
It is fair to point out that Bane’s mechanics are not exactly prototypical, leading to at least some question as to how his shot may translate. Still, he had no trouble getting his shot off, both on the move and off the catch, during his time at TCU, and the results were tremendous.
Bane’s principal appeal will be his jump shot but, with an official listing of 6’6 and 215 pounds, Bane does bring enough to the table to fill out his overall profile. His overall efficiency dipped as a senior, largely due to an uptick in usage. To put it plainly, he was asked to carry what was probably too large of a workload as an initiator but, in the NBA, that won’t be an issue as he transitions into more of a pure 3-and-D construct.
Bane isn’t a massive threat as a pure creator, but he has flashed the ability to attack closeouts with at least moderate effectiveness. His ball-handling markedly improved during his college stint and, if nothing else, there is reason to believe in his decision-making — especially as a passer — and the ability to execute simple plays with the ball in his hands. As a finisher, though, he struggled a bit at the college level, which is a red flag for anything going toward the basket.
Defensively, Bane wasn’t a full-blown standout in college, but he flashed more than enough to provide a solid baseline for his future. He likely won’t be considered as a “lock-down” guy at the NBA level, but Bane is thick and strong, projecting the potential to switch effectively when asked to do so. He is also a reasonably intelligent team defender, usually in the right place and able to communicate effectively.
From there, Bane has solid rates in blocks (1.6 percent as a senior) and steals (2.5 percent as a senior) that won’t overwhelm anyone, but also shouldn’t be seen as negatives. Bane also has reasonable rebounding instincts and, with his size and stout frame, he shouldn’t be a negative there either.
Depending on who you ask, Bane might be a complete unknown that is a long-shot to be drafted or, in some circles, a player that should even garner consideration at the end of the first round. Reasonably, Bane falls somewhere in the middle, as a player that should be drafted based on his shooting potential and the chance that he can take very little off the table as a 3-and-D role player with one high-end skill.
Many words will be assigned to the overall weakness of the 2020 NBA Draft and, well, most of them won’t be inaccurate. There is a pool of potential role players that can be quite interesting, though, and if Bane can combine his projectable shooting with average(-ish) defense and a quality feel for the game, an NBA team might be able to unearth a contributor somewhere in the second round. Considering the Hawks project to have a pick somewhere in the back half, Bane would be a (very) nice player to target if he was still on the board for Atlanta.