NBA Draft 2020: Expert Predictions for Desmond Bane, More Sleeper Prospects

Oklahoma guard Alondes Williams (15) is knocked backwards defending against a drive to the basket by TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, March 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The second round of the NBA draft may not be loaded with future stars, but there are sometimes players selected late who go on to have success.

Nikola Jokic (2014), Draymond Green (2012), Khris Middleton (2012) and Isaiah Thomas (2011) are all players who were second-round picks and went on to become All-Stars in the past decade.

This year, there are multiple prospects who likely won’t be drafted until the second round but could still turn into standout NBA players. And in a few years, we could look back at these players and wonder how so many teams passed over them in the 2020 draft.

Here’s a look at a few potential sleeper prospects, along with where expert mocks are projecting them to get drafted.

Desmond Bane, SG, TCU

In his fourth and final season at TCU, Desmond Bane shot 45.2 percent from the field, the lowest mark of any of his college seasons. However, he still had a strong senior year that boosted his NBA draft stock, as he set career highs in points (16.6), rebounds (6.3), assists (3.9) and steals (1.5) per game over 32 contests.

Despite being a strong player over four years with the Horned Frogs, Bane likely won’t be drafted until the second round. But he has the potential to develop into a solid NBA player because of his strengths, which The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie pointed out while projecting the 6’6″ shooting guard to get selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 44 overall pick.

“There are some concerns about how the funky mechanics on his shot will translate, but the numbers are the numbers,” Vecenie wrote. “At the end of the day, Bane should probably be picked given the strength of this draft, and I think there is a real chance he gets a guaranteed deal.”

Vecenie also noted that Bane is “extremely strong, and has improved as a ballhandler enough to where he should be in good shape to attack closeouts.”

Sports Illustrated‘s Jeremy Woo projects Bane to go No. 42 to the New Orleans Pelicans, while ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have him falling to No. 59, getting drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wherever Bane gets drafted, he has a chance of being one of the biggest steals of the 2020 draft if his college play translates to the pro level.

Grant Riller, PG, College of Charleston

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Grant Riller #1 of the Charleston Cougars gets past Matt Milon #2 of the UCF Knights as he drives to the basket in the second half of the game during the Wooden Legacy at the Anaheim Convention Center at on December 1, 2019 in

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Vecenie wrote that he has College of Charleston point guard Grant Riller as a “first-round graded player.” Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has Riller’s “range worth drafting” as picks Nos. 15-30. Yet many mocks don’t have Riller getting selected until the second round.

There are several likely reasons for that, including Riller’s age (23) and the fact Charleston only reached the NCAA tournament once during his four-year college career (his sophomore year in 2018), so he didn’t get much exposure. But he’s a talented scoring guard who could be a second-round steal for a team.

“Some team is bound to luck out on one of the draft’s most advanced scorers, who finished with 21.9 points per game on over 60 percent true shooting for the second straight year,” Wasserman wrote.

Although Vecenie is high on Riller, he doesn’t have the 6’3″ guard getting drafted until No. 45 overall by the Orlando Magic, likely because of how teams view him. That’s about the same range as other mocks, as Woo has Riller going No. 37 to the Washington Wizards and Givony and Schmitz project him to go at No. 45 to the Chicago Bulls.

Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor

Kathleen Batten/Associated Press

Jared Butler likely won’t be drafted until the second round, but that hasn’t changed the Baylor guard’s decision to leave school after only two seasons. And although he doesn’t have first-round buzz, he could be a sleeper because of his probable late selection.

This past season, Butler made strides from his freshman year, improving most of his key shooting statistics—16 points per game, 42.1 field-goal percentage and 38.1 3-point percentage. He also played against some tough competition in the Big 12 that potentially better prepared him to transition to the NBA.

Woo believes Butler will come off the board quickly in the second round, projecting him to go No. 33 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which is the third selection of the round. Vecenie has Butler going No. 36 to the 76ers, while Givony and Schmitz project he’ll be drafted No. 43 to the Trail Blazers.

Vecenie wrote that Butler has “one of the most technically gifted handles in all of college basketball,” also praising his “wide variety of set-up moves and counter moves that allow him to break down defenders and get into the paint with ease.” For those reasons, Butler has the potential to become a solid NBA player and be one of the next second-round success stories.  

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