Desmond Bane is entering this season for the Memphis Grizzlies with some momentum, and one NBA executive reportedly believes the 25-year-old is capable of big things.
“Desmond Bane can definitely be an All-Star or All-NBA player this season,” an NBA executive who voted for Bane as one of his top breakout players this season told HoopsHype.
An All-Rookie selection in the 2020-21 season, Bane is about to begin his fourth NBA campaign after averaging a career-high 21.5 points per game last season. He contributed 23.5 points per game in the Grizzlies’ six-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
The NBA executive was one of 25 taking part in a poll conducted by HoopsHype in which they were asked to name their top three players who will have a breakout campaign in the 2023-24 NBA season.
The Grizzlies will not have star guard Ja Morant at the start of the season as he serves a 25-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the league. That likely will give more responsibility to Bane, a Texas Christian University product who was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
He got off to an impressive start last season with Morant available, averaging 24.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in the first 12 games before injuring his toe. Memphis was 8-4 in those games on the way to finishing 51-31 for its second straight 50-win campaign.
The Grizzlies lost some of their personality, for good and bad, with Dillon Brooks joining the Houston Rockets this summer after playing six seasons for Memphis. A well-regarded defensive player and well-known agitator, the 27-year-old was ejected five minutes into his first preseason game with the Rockets after hitting Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis in the groin. Brooks was among the players also receiving votes as a breakout player in the HoopsHype survey.
Bane is averaging 19.0 points per game in two contests so far this preseason and will obviously be a key contributor if the Grizzlies hope to get back to playoffs and go further than they did last season. There’s at least one NBA executive believes he will be up to the task.