When asked to think about iconic moments in NBA history today, some of us automatically think about dunks. Vince Carter’s 2000 Dunk Contest will certainly not be forgotten for a long time. But when May comes around (or August if the year is 2020) and the playoffs begin, something changes.
Think about the most famous postseason play you can remember. Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 buzzer beater against the 76ers in 2019? Ray Allen’s game-tying shot in 2013 with five seconds left of Game 6? Michael Jordan’s game-winner against the Cavaliers in Game 5 in 1989?
These aren’t dunks. These are the plays that we’ll remember forever. It’s satisfying to see Zion Williamson drive down the lane and slam one down. And who doesn’t like seeing Shaq shatter a backboard or two? But with the game on the line, there’s no other sound you would rather hear than Mike Breen’s “BANG!”
Enter TCU’s Desmond Bane.
Bane began his TCU career by playing only 20 minutes a game, attempting only two three-pointers per game. He showed promise, making 38 percent of his deep looks as a freshman while averaging seven points per game (PPG). Once the calendar flipped, he really turned it on, as his sophomore year saw him raise his three-point clip to 46.1 percent on nearly double the attempts (3.9 per game).
Now ready to throw his hat into the NBA Draft ring, Bane is one of the most efficient three-point shooters of his class, as his career three-point percentage of 44.3 percent attests. As a senior, he averaged 16.6 PPG (2nd in the conference), 3.8 assists per game (6th in conference) and 6.3 rebounds per game (10th in conference). He also stuffed the sheet when it comes to advanced stats: he was third-best in box plus/minus (9.8) and win shares (5.5), eighth-best in player efficiency rating (PER) with a mark of 23.2, and sixth-best in offensive rating (114.5), all relative to the Big 12.
|Birthday:||Jun 25, 1998||Nationality:||United States|
|Wingspan:||6-4||Vertical:||40 inches max|
|Shot Hand:||Right||Stats:||Click here|
- Outstanding three-point shooter; averaged 1.33 PPP in the half court for three-point shooting (96th percentile) this season, and shot better than 42 percent from deep for three years in a row
- Effective shooting both off the catch and the dribble; ranked better than 75th percentile for catch-and-shoot PPP over past two seasons, and this year, vastly improved shooting off the bounce, ranking at the 92nd percentile for PPP on 103 half-court attempts
- Good playmaker with excellent court vision; averaged the sixth most assists per game in the Big 12 (3.9) and had a great assist-turnover ratio of 1.68 for a wing
- Efficient and energetic with off-the-ball movement on offense
- Excellent midrange game in the half-court; over past two seasons, made better than 42 percent of his jumpers between 15 and 20 feet, and this season with runners and floaters, ranked at the 96th percentile for PPP on 54-percent shooting
- Smart defender, who knows when to play the ball and when to play the man
- Good rebounding wing; averaged the tenth-most rebounds per game in his conference (6.3) and was top 20 in both offensive rebounding percentage (10.4) and defensive rebounding percentage (16.3)
- Good overall contributor; box plus/minus of 9.8 was 18th best in the nation and PER of 23.2 was eighth best in the Big 12
- Solid build, with above-average strength
- Very high IQ on offense and defense
- Not lengthy, with a wingspan of only 6 feet, 4 inches
- Doesn’t have great athleticism; lacks blazing speed and an explosive first step
- Not an exceptional ball-handler; doesn’t have a lot of moves to get around defenders, and relies on screens and craftiness to create space
- Rarely goes all the way to the rim on drives (9-of-18 within 7 feet this season), and doesn’t draw many fouls (1.8 free-throw attempts per game this season)
- Struggled around the basket this season, averaging 1.014 PPP in the half court (33rd percentile)
First and foremost, Bane is one of the most prolific shooters in this year’s class. This year, jump shots accounted for 74 percent of his half-court attempts, and he had a stupendous 44.2 percent three-point percentage, first in the Big 12 and seventh in the NCAA. He averaged 1.33 PPP on triples, which was the 96th percentile in the nation, and 1.121 PPP on all jump shots in half-court, the 89th percentile. He also ranked at the 92nd percentile for PPP when taking shots off the dribble. TCU rode his success through the entire season, as he attempted the most treys in the Big 12 by far (208). This deadly combination of volume and efficiency led to him being the runner-up for the scoring crown in the conference (16.6 PPG). The senior has an efficient shooting motion and deep range. If he has a little bit of space between him and the defender, count on his jump shot going in.
But that’s the catch — Bane isn’t great at creating space, mostly using simple, albeit very effective, step-to-the-side or step-back moves. Instead, he mainly relies on constant off-ball movement and screens for much of his offense. More than 63 percent of his possessions this season came from spot-up (22 percent, 91st percentile for PPP), pick-and-roll (22 percent, 76th percentile for PPP) and off-screen plays (19 percent, 62nd percentile for PPP), while isolation accounted for just five percent of his possessions (97th percentile for PPP).
Bane’s handle is not overly nifty, but more importantly, he is not especially fast or quick and lacks an explosive first step. As a result, he rarely attacks the rim, and relies heavily on runners/floaters when going to the basket. This season, he took just 18 shots within seven feet via drives, making nine. He does have very nice touch with runners and floaters, but his nonaggressive approach led to him attempting just 1.8 foul shots per game. Additionally, his short wingspan and lack of functional vertical explosiveness led to the Indiana native making a modest 53 percent of all of his half-court shots within seven feet this season.
For a wing, Bane is an excellent playmaker, who is exceptional at recognizing double-teams, be it on him or one of his teammates, and finding the open man. This season, he had an assist-turnover ratio of 1.7 and averaged 3.9 assists per game, sixth in the Big 12. Also, his efficiency greatly increased when including the results of passes when handling in the pick and roll (84th percentile for PPP). It all comes down to being a smart basketball player, and that’s exactly what Bane is. He makes the absolute most out of every possession, and he’s able to tell when he’s overmatched. Instead of struggling to finish the play himself, like some others would, he drives to the basket, drawing defenders, and immediately finding the open perimeter man.
Bane isn’t the most aggressive defender, but he gets the job done. This season, he allowed 0.787 PPP on overall defense, ranking at the 65th percentile in DI. He doesn’t stick to his defender’s hip, which sometimes comes at a fault given his undersized wingspan. As a result, he ranked at only the 42nd percentile when defending the jump shots and at the 36th percentile for defending the catch-and-shoot.
Once again, Bane’s high IQ allows him to succeed both on and off the ball. He knows exactly when to split from his man when another opponent is driving to the rim, and he even puts himself in a good rebounding position most of the time (6.3 boards per game, 10th in the conference). He knows which players on the other team are the biggest threats, and he defends accordingly by either applying the double team at the right time or directing traffic appropriately. Those skills and leadership are not easily taught.
Bane is also efficient with his steps, which helps him keep a close proximity to his assignment, allowing him to rank at the 80th percentile when defending runners and the 68th percentile for shots around the basket. Overall, his defense is a mixed bag. He isn’t particularly quick, he doesn’t have elite length, and he doesn’t play super aggressively. He’s more a floor general on defense than he is a rough-and-tumble junkyard dog, and he plays the role as well as his physical limitations allow.
Intangibles and Miscellaneous
Bane always gives maximum effort, is a highly intelligent player, and is a proven winner. Not only is he TCU’s all-time winningest player with 84 wins, and he is also the school’s all-time leader in games played at 141 games (never missed a game). On offense, most of his points are derived, so he has to put in extra effort getting open around screens. He’s constantly moving off the ball, and he does so throughout the whole game without losing a step. Defensively, he displays leadership, often directing the action. His teammates seem to respect him, and he is bound to grow chemistry wherever he goes.
Bane’s overall game doesn’t have many holes. He is ruthless from behind the arc, his midrange range is nearly as good, he is a great offensive facilitator for his teammates, and he is a defensive leader. But there are a few very crucial aspects of a complete hooper’s game that he is missing. He is not long and not overly athletic, he doesn’t excel at creating his own offense or attacking the rim, and his on-ball defense isn’t strong.
Bane is projected as being drafted in the late in the first round or early second round, and rightfully so. He will probably service a team well one day as a catch-and-shoot sharpshooter who can also facilitate for his teammates, and if he proves not to be a big liability on defense, he might even carve out a starting role.
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements: Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports Technology, RealGM.com, and Sports-Reference.com. Some background information and the photo were courtesy of TCU Athletics. Other outside sources are noted with links to the source.