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Suns 2020 Draft Spotlight: Trade-back candidate Desmond Bane can shoot and pass

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Desmond Bane is an older prospect that just so happens to be the best shooter in the entire draft. Sound familiar?

Texas Christian v Clemson Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Last season, the Suns traded back from the 6th slot to the 11th pick while picking up Dario Saric and saving millions on the rookie scale contract in the process. The rookie they decided to select 11th overall that caught most of the league off guard? Cameron Johnson, a 23-year-old sharpshooter that was projected to go in the late-1st round. Bane fits the mold of Johnson in terms of him being an older prospect that is (mostly) considered the best shooter in the draft that comes with some upside limitations. Oh, and they just so happen to share the same agent. Interesting.

I could foresee James Jones and company doing something similar (trading down) this year if the board doesn’t shape up in their favor, or if they are very high on someone they are confident they could get later on in the draft while acquiring another asset much like the Saric/Johnson deal. Insert Desmond Bane.

This trade-back series started with Ty-Shon Alexander, and now we will profile Desmond Bane, who has been linked to the Suns multiple times now. He interviewed with them last year before withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft process, and it has been reported that the Suns are one of three teams to show “the most” interest in the sharpshooting guard from TCU.

10th pick previews: Killian Hayes, Devin Vassell, Isaac Okoro, Patrick Williams, Tyrese Haliburton, Obi Toppin

Trade back candidate previews: Ty-Shon Alexander

“I love the idea of Phoenix. I had a long, nice conversation with James Jones,” Bane said in an interview.

Related: Desmond Bane says he’s gotten tons of interest from Suns, James Jones.


General Background

Position: SG

Measureables: 6’6” - 6’4” wingspan

Age: 22 years old

Team: TCU

Role: 3 & D guard, elite role player

Notable players (since 2008) to shoot greater than 43% from 3 (min. 150 attempts), with a BPM greater than 8 and STL% greater than 2 and BLK% greater than 1:

(via Barttorvik)

  • Steph Curry (2008)
  • Mario Chalmers (2008)
  • Gordon Hayward (2009)
  • Mikal Bridges (2018)
  • Cam Johnson (2019)
  • Desmond Bane (2020)

Offense

Strengths: Elite shooter, Plus finisher, Secondary creation potential

Weaknesses: Lack of explosive athleticism, Handle must continue to improve, Limited upside

To me, Desmond Bane is the best shooter in the entire 2020 NBA Draft. He has it all from a shooting versatility perspective: deep range, shooting off-the-dribble, shooting off motion, running off screens, etc. You name it, he hits it. His read and react acumen to whatever the defense throws at him is pristine when trying to get his shot off.

He shot over 43 percent from three point land in his 4-year career at TCU along with an 80 percent clip from the free throw line. He’s shown some flashes of hitting tough shots off the dribble and made a few highlight worthy crossovers into step-backs where he snatched some ankles or confused his defender. For someone that’s as great of a shooter as he is, he actually has fairly impressive shot selection, rarely forcing anything irresponsible or taking shots out of the flow of the offense (unless he’s in heat-check mode, which you love to see).

His passing is a bit underrated. He makes solid reads off the dribble and moves the ball extremely well when it comes to making standard reads or hitting the open man. He’s a willing passer and probably should’ve had more assists than he did last year due to poor shooting from his teammates. The handle must improve, but the positive here is he’s seemingly taken a leap in his dribbling each of the past two seasons, so the improvement there bodes well for him moving forward.


Defense

Strengths: Point of attack defense, Smart team-defender, Motor/Strength

Weaknesses: Length (minus wingspan), Athleticism

Despite his athletic limitations, Bane is a plus defender that offers versatility and a high motor on that side of the floor. He figures to primarily guard 2’s and 3’s at the next level, with the ability to potentially switch 1-4 in most cases. The defensive versatility he brings to the table despite having a nearly “minus two” wingspan has to do with a combination of his strength, IQ, and effort. Oh, and due to the fact that he’s also built like a tank.

It should seem fairly obvious that having a high motor and high effort level on defense is a skill, because not every prospect brings it consistently. Bane is someone I will never worry about when it comes to lack of effort or hustle, and those are the type of players that the Suns need as they continue to push towards their culture change.

While his speed isn’t elite, he moves fairly well and uses angles to make up for it in most cases, though he can struggle when matched up with extremely quick point guards. Overall, I believe he will step on an NBA court immediately and provide plus floor-spacing along with his intense and intelligent defense. The more players you have that fit that mold, the merrier.


Fit in Phoenix

Bane checks a ton of boxes off James Jones’ list of priorities when scouting players for the draft. He is an experienced, high IQ player that is ready to carve out a significant role right away, much like Cam Johnson last season. He fits the mold of what this front office looks for in a player, and it would not shock me at all if they made a move to acquire him one way or another.

Phoenix’s second unit still needs another guard (or two), and adding someone that could play alongside both Cameron Payne and Jevon Carter like Bane would be a good start. I also believe Bane would be able to play off both Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker as well, and his floor spacing and secondary playmaking makes him a versatile offensive guard in many scenarios. The more diverse situations you can play a guard in, the better. I’d even feel comfortable occasionally throwing him in a lineup with Rubio and Booker and play all three together if need be.

I would not take him 10th overall, as that would be a massive reach for a player that is almost certainly going to be available in the 18-32 range. If the Suns do decide to trade back and add a later pick in the first round, I’d feel much more comfortable with them taking him while adding an asset or two and shedding some rookie scale salary all at once. There are plenty of trade-back partners that make sense for Phoenix if they decide to go that route.

As you can see, there are plenty of teams that make sense to trade with if they want to go that route, but I want to emphasize that they should only look to trade back if their prime targets (Hayes, Vassell, Okoro, Haliburton, Williams, etc.) are all off the board unless the offer is too good to refuse. Boston, Minnesota, New Orleans and Philadelphia stand out the most as potential trade partners.

I am a big fan of Bane and have him ranked 16th on my latest big board, which is much higher than the consensus tends to be on him. If Phoenix makes a move to trade back into the draft or acquire another pick and selects him, it would be a very welcome sight on my end.


Here’s an excellent film room breakdown from PBC’s Jon Chepkevich on Desmond Bane that I highly recommend watching if you want to learn more about his game and his personality in general.