Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane is quietly making history

Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Ask a random NBA fan about Memphis Grizzlies basketball — you’ll probably hear a few names come up. The first will always be Ja Morant, the Grizzlies’ superstar point guard who is truly a once-in-a-generation type of player.

Beyond that, you might hear about Jaren Jackson Jr., who is a unicorn out on the court. Some might even make mention of Dillon Brooks, who embodies Grizz basketball with his grit-and-grind playstyle. But one player has quietly been the most important player on this team in 2021.

That player is Desmond Bane.

Memphis Grizzlies sophomore guard Desmond Bane is quietly emerging as an NBA star

When the Memphis Grizzlies selected Desmond Bane with the final pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft, the general feeling on Beale Street was excitement. The former TCU guard was thought of as somebody who could be a fringe lottery pick and unexpectedly fell in the draft.

Even at the time, picking him up at 30 felt like a big steal. That said, nobody could have expected him to become as impactful in just two seasons as he has.

In the 2021-22 season, Bane is averaging 16.4 points per game. Among players in his draft class, that sits him at 4th in scoring this year. Bane was undeniably going to be an elite shooter in the league, but nobody expected this type of impact.

To take things a step further, Bane isn’t just sticking out among players in his draft class — he’s quickly become one of the best young shooters in NBA history. The former 30th overall pick is putting up video game numbers for somebody who is the fourth option on his team. Here’s one of those numbers per Grizz PR.

An NBA All-Star appearance might be a bit of a stretch. That said, the Grizz shooter has been one of the best complementary options in the entire league. Perhaps most importantly of all, he fits this team perfectly.

Fans were desperately looking for a strong shooting after a pair of seasons that saw Memphis near the bottom of the league in three-point percentage. They found their answer. While Jaren Jackson Jr. has been struggling from deep, Bane has been excelling. Had Bane been a top-five pick, he would still be considered a positive surprise right now.

Next. 3 biggest gifts from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2021. dark

So while fans worry about the team’s shortcomings without Ja Morant, maybe it’s time to appreciate the parts of this team that have been working.