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On the Friday edition, Howard Beck welcomes Grizzlies shooting ace Desmond Bane—the steal of the 2020 draft and an early favorite for Most Improved Player. Bane discusses the Grizzlies’ recent surge despite the absence of star guard Ja Morant, his surprising success in his first season landing on the all-rookie second team and reviving the Grit & Grind era in Memphis.

The following transcript is an excerpt from The Crossover NBA podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Howard Beck: There was another moment last night. I think Brevin Knight at one point referred to you as "The Fly By King." Are you aware of this?

Desmond Bane: I've heard that a few times.

Beck: I understood what he meant in the moment, but how did you become the Fly By King?

Bane: That's kinda like my patented move. Teams are scouting to run me off the three-point line. So they're flying at me, trying to run me off the three-point line and I just throw up a little shot fake, let em fly by and still get my degree off.

Beck: So when I heard him say it the first time that was Anthony Davis flying by. So that's a lot of size and limbs flying by. And you did hit that three. How has that been for you? Because you came into this league—that was the one thing that everybody knew for sure you had in your game which was shooting. And then the criticism behind that or the critique, especially during pre-draft scouting as well, "He's not going to create a lot." So, teams are obviously going to try to take that away. So tell me about how that adjustment has been for you, because you're still shooting 40% from three, I think you're closer to 48% during this last seven games stretch. Have you had to find a way to keep finding the space for your shot as the league has adjusted to you?

Bane: Yeah, I continue to round out my game. I feel like that's made things a little bit easier for me. You know, being able to play on the ball, being able to play off the ball, actions away from the ball. It's helped me a lot to open things up for me now. You know, I can hurt the defense in more ways than one.

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Beck: So I mentioned to you that pre-draft process and the critiques that came behind that. You're taken 30th overall. I think the prognostications had you anywhere from, late first to in the second round. Did you pay it much attention, to any of that? Do you still remember some of the critiques? Are you somebody who thinks about that stuff in terms of how it motivates or shapes the way you approach the game in the league?

Bane: I mean, it doesn't change the way that I approach or anything like that, but I definitely remember what they were saying. You know, and I ain't never gonna forget what they were saying. You know? Hopefully, I got a long career, hopefully, accomplish a lot of things. I'll still remember what they had to say. That's just the type of person/type of player I am.

Beck: What are the ones that bothered you or the ones that you thought were the most off-base?

Bane: All of em!

Beck: I'm looking at one here, this is my colleague, Jeremy Woo from Sports Illustrated. So I'm throwing him right under the bus here. This was his summation of you last year. "While Bane doesn't come with a ton of upside—he's physically maxed out and isn't a great mover athletically—he might be a pretty useful role-player right away. He's a dangerous shooter with underrated passing skills and a strong frame that should help them stay on the floor defensively, despite not being very quick laterally." And it goes on a little bit more, and then talks about your wingspan. I'm giving Jeremy some crap here, but I think all of the draft analysts kind of had a similar summation of you. Is there a part of that, that actually you were like, yeah okay, I get that. But here's what you guys are missing?

Bane: Yeah, no question. No offense to Jeremy or any of those writers, but, you know, it's a lot different when you're on the court. It's easy to type and write some thing. And going off of what you see on the film or what you've heard from people. But until you get between those lines, I mean, you can't measure a guy's heart and you can't measure how they prepare for the game or what they do behind the scenes. All that stuff is just for online clicks and media, you know? I really try not to pay too much attention to that stuff.

Beck: What have you already gotten better at? In terms of, you know, on day one, you arrive, you had certain things that you knew were going to be your go-tos. What have you already added that you're most proud of?

Bane: I would say defense. Early on that was something that I really struggled with. I mean, the speed of the game, the athleticism of the players ... and now it turns to me to mesh players, so I feel like I've came a long way, and I can still continue to improve.

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