Remember last year’s draft when the Suns were more interested in fit than ceiling, taking Cameron Johnson — the draft’s best shooter — at least five spots if not 20 spots earlier than analysts had pegged?
Now it might be 22 year old, four-year college player Desmond Bane from TCU.
“I had a long conversation with James Jones,” Bane said of the Phoenix Suns GM in a recent call with media. “He’s one of those guys that was really high IQ. Knew his role on the team. He could shoot the ball. Brings a lot of similar qualities I bring to a team.”
James Jones likes older prospects who know their role. He took 23 year old Cam Johnson at 11th overall last year and 22 year old Mikal Bridges at 10th overall the year before. Those two are now part of the young Suns’ core that could contend for the playoffs next year. He also drafted 22 year old Ty Jerome at 24th overall last year. Jerome is still trying to find his NBA footing.
If you like the Cam Johnson mold, you will see similarities to Desmond Bane. And in Johnson and Bridges, Jones has had success. Bridges made second team All-Rookie a season ago, and Johnson arguably finished the year as the 10th-15th best rookie though he did not make an All-Rookie team.
Bane is one of a half a dozen prospects who fit what Jones is looking for in the 2020 Draft.
“Our focus on rebounding, offensive rebounding, moving the ball, sharing the ball, being a low turnover team,” James Jones said of what he liked about the Suns in the Bubble, where they went 8-0. “All those things require a guys that can think on their feet. It takes a level of basketball IQ and maturity.”
Jones also reiterated later in the interview his affinity for older prospects.
“Always looking for experience,” Jones said. “We’re always looking for capacity. I don’t go based on age. My experience that the older players are the more seasoned veteran players tend to posses a greater capacity from day one to contribute to your team.”
Bane is an older (just turning 22), late-rising shooting prospect, now ranked as high as 22 by Kevin O’Connor with The Ringer. This is a great profile on Bane.
High-IQ guard who plays hard. He already has a veteran skill set and projects favorably as a rotation player.
Bane is 6’6”, 215 pounds. His best traits are shooting (44.2% on 3s), hustle and off-ball defense. He even checks the box of needing a secondary playmaker at the next level. He’s not the greatest athlete in the world, which is why he lasted four years at TCU. But he excels at the things that James Jones likes in a prospect.
Apparently, they appear to be a match so far in pre-draft interviews.
“I love the idea of Phoenix,” Bane said in the interview.
Bane has interviewed with at least 26 of the 30 NBA teams so far because his draft position is fluid. He could go late lottery in a light draft, or fall all the way to the second round, and few would be surprised.
We know Suns GM James Jones covets elite shooting prospects. TCU's Desmond Bane is the best in the 2020 draft class:— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 20, 2020
- Career 43.3% on 3s
- Blossoming playmaking potential (3.9 APG)
- Great team defender (2.5 STL%)
- Will be 22-years-old at the start of next season pic.twitter.com/JQjYA4Oo0z
If you want to get to know Bane a bit better, hearing him talk with Sam Vecenie of The Athletic (Sam has Bane at 22 on his latest board as well) on Sam’s Game Theory podcast is nothing but inspirational. After hearing Bane talk for 20 minutes, I can totally see Monty Williams and James Jones falling in love with the guy.
If the Suns really wanted Bane, would they take him at 10? Or as part of a trade down? Who knows.
The Draft is November 18.