The Trail Blazers’ 2019-20 season is firmly in the rearview mirror and the 2020 NBA Draft is now on the horizon. As of now, the draft is scheduled for November 18. Unlike last year, the Blazers enter the process with two picks at their disposal. Portland currently owns the No. 16 pick in the first round and the No. 46 pick in the second round.
Today’s profile focuses on TCU wing Desmond Bane, a steady shooter who projects to be a selection in the first round of the draft.
- Height: 6’6”
- Weight: 215
- Wingspan: 6’5”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: G/F
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 19-40
- PTS: 16.6 | Per 40: 18.4
- REB: 6.3 | Per 40: 7.0
- AST: 3.9 | Per 40: 4.3
- STL: 1.5 | Per 40: 1.6
- FG%: 45.2
- 3P%: 44.2
- FT%: 78.9
Bane’s greatest asset is his shooting. The senior hit 44 percent of his shots from distance last season, and those weren’t your average standstill threes. He proved he is a good movement shooter while also creating for himself, ranking in the 92nd percentile as a pull-up shooter. It’s safe to say he’s one of the best gunners in the entire class, and he can finish around the rim pretty well also. On top of this, he’s a high-IQ player who consistently finds open players and almost never forces passes.
Defensively, he doesn’t boast a gargantuan wingspan and isn’t a supreme athlete, but he’s very smart. He’s built sturdy and reacts quickly to what opponents are doing. He averaged 1.5 steals per game because he’s got quick hands and knows when he needs to help. He is excellent at stunting big men or guards coming into the lane, disrupting passes, and rotating to the right spots. His defensive off-ball prowess will be very handy at the next level.
Bane’s weaknesses mostly stem from his suspect athleticism. While he’s a plus-offensive player overall, he displayed a lack of explosiveness that will hurt his chances at creating his own shot at the next level. Those athletic limitations also hinder him on the defensive end. He’s strong, but his wingspan leaves a lot to be desired. Against small-ball lineups he might be able to guard above his position, but against your average 3 you wouldn’t feel comfortable having him as the isolation defender. With the ball, he lacks a tight handle on his drives to the rim.
Bane was clearly the best player on a .500 TCU squad. He was first on his team in points per game and second in the Big 12. He was also first in the conference in three-pointers made and three-point percentage, while also leading his team in assists and steals. All of this was good enough to earn him All-Big 12 First Team honors.
Desmond Bane projects to fit neatly into this league as a rotation player. He can hit a wide variety of shots both off the ball and with the ball in his hands. He is a plus-player on both ends of the floor. He’s the type of wing that just about every team in this league would love to have, as shooting wings who rarely make the wrong play are always in high demand. He’ll always be somewhat limited by his athletic and physical deficiencies, but he can make up for those limitations with his actual basketball skills.
The Blazers need a wing. Whether they find it in free agency or the draft doesn’t really matter, but the reality is that they’re in desperate need of some help there. While Bane is tall enough at 6’6” to give Portland some flexibility when using him, I don’t think he’ll be exactly who Neil Olshey is looking for on draft night. There’s nothing wrong with more shooting, and he would be a great backup guard. But landing a prospect with more length who can play the small forward consistently would be ideal. At No. 16, there should be other options that fit that need.
Bane has been a riser in the draft process, but there are still people who have him falling as far as the middle of the second round. Most expect him not to fall too far into the second round, but if Bane is still available with the Blazers lurking in the second round, he certainly fits the mold of potential target. As noted earlier, he’s the kind of guy who fits on just about any roster. He wouldn’t be a complete game-changer for Portland, but they don’t need that from a rookie; they just need someone who can contribute.
Bane is one of the safest picks you can get in this draft. The skills he brings to a team translate well to the NBA and you can plug him into any rotation and feel confident that he won’t hurt your squad. But Olshey has a history of taking more undeveloped guys that the team can groom (i.e. Nassir Little). If you’re making the argument for a rotation-ready wing, Bane will be among the options at pick No. 16.