Why the Knicks Should Consider Drafting Desmond Bane

Kris Pursiainen

My 2020 NBA Draft Profiles:

Guards: Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Maxey, Kira Lewis Jr., Tre Jones, Nico Mannion, Leandro Bolmaro

Wings: Deni Avdija, Devin Vassell, Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, Josh Green, Saddiq Bey, Desmond Bane

Bigs: Onyeka Okongwu, Obi Toppin, James Wiseman, Aleksej Pokuševski, Precious Achiuwa, Jalen Smith, Patrick Williams

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Desmond Bane is a 6'6" wing who played for TCU for four seasons and averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 36 minutes per game in his senior year. I see Bane as the best shooter in the 2020 NBA Draft and someone that will be able to contribute at the NBA level for many years regardless of where he's playing.

Bane's three-point shot may not look conventionally technically sound, but it's difficult to argue with the results. Bane was able to convert on 44.2% of his 6.5 attempts per game from beyond the arc, with numerous types of shots being made to contribute to that. He can shoot off the dribble, off of screens, simply whenever open, and convert free throws at a solid rate (78.9% in his senior season, 86.7% in his junior season) - which is usually a good indicator that the player has good "touch" as a shooter. 

Bane is able to act as a pick and roll initiator, even if not a team's primary ball handler, as he has shown he's capable of making intelligent reads and finishing at the basket if he decides to keep the ball and attack the rim. Bane has good touch as I mentioned earlier and he is able to use either hand when attempting to convert in the paint. 

Off the ball, Bane is simply an overall smart player who knows where to be and what to be doing to make himself as effective as possible at all times. He typically knows when to cut, where to move to on the court to help facilitate the offense, and how to best position himself to receive the ball and either get off a good shot or take his defender to the rim. His lack of great athleticism - which shows itself in his lack of a quick and explosive first step, or "burst" in general - doesn't help him much on either end of the court, but he's simply a good enough player overall to force teams to look past that. 

Defensively, Bane won't be impressing any teams that put a lot of stock into a player's measurables and athleticism as determinants of their potential impact on that end of the court; his wingspan is an inch shorter than he is tall and, as I mentioned earlier, his athleticism isn't anything too special.  However, Bane averaged 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game in his senior season and displayed a respectable set of fundamentals and reflexes when guarding opposing players and teams. I project him as a player who will be able to - due to the changing landscape of the league and the apparent shift towards playing small ball with as many versatile wings on the court as possible - guard smaller opposing wings or take on the task of matching up against a guard. 

If the Knicks were to select Desmond Bane in the 2020 Draft, I would think that they would be doing so with the Clippers' first round pick - or potentially even an earlier pick in the late-teens or early-20s range that they used the Clippers' pick and another asset to acquire. Simply put, it depends on what teams generally think of Bane as we approach draft night. Either way - I expect him to be selected before the end of the first round, even if not in the lottery. 

Bane would slot perfectly next to RJ Barrett as the Knicks' other "wing" - optimally with a point guard to facilitate the offense and an able shooter at power forward next to fan-favorite lob-threat Mitchell Robinson to help space the floor. I think Bane would be able to start next season, but a role in which he came off the bench would work perfectly fine. 

Newly hired head coach Tom Thibodeau would love to have a player like Bane on his roster - an able and willing defender who can space the floor for the more-featured members of the roster (Barrett, Robinson) and play numerous different positions depending on who he's sharing the court with. If the Knicks don't plan on using either of their non-lottery selections in the draft in a trade, they should find a way to use one, or both, of them to acquire Desmond Bane.

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