Desmond Bane‘s surprising season with the Grizzlies makes him seem like a huge draft-night mistake by the Celtics, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston selected Bane with the 30th pick in 2020 and immediately traded him to Memphis for a pair of second-rounders because of luxury tax concerns. Bane has become a full-time starter in his second NBA season and is averaging 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds through 44 games.
“I never knew it was Boston’s pick,” Bane recalled. “Everything was going on so fast, I had seen (the report) that the Grizzlies draft Desmond Bane at No. 30, so most guys put on the Celtics hat, I had a Grizzlies hat before they even put me on the TV screen. I was Grizzlies all the way.”
Bane has become an ideal backcourt partner for Ja Morant and has helped transform Memphis into a Western Conference contender at 30-15. He believes he should have been drafted higher and uses his status at No. 30 as inspiration.
“I’m always trying to keep the chip on my shoulder throughout all of it, regardless what I’ve done to this point in my career,” he said. “There’s still a lot of room to grow and improve.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Doug McDermott was one of the first Spurs players to enter health and safety protocols and one of the last to be cleared, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDermott, who returned to the court Friday, was stuck in a Detroit hotel room for six days, then had to wait even longer after returning home because contagion-level tests showed that he still presented a danger. “It’s a tough way to learn, just having a ball and just myself in the gym,” he said after missing seven games. “It’s hard to simulate the NBA speed of the game.”
- Spurs guard Dejounte Murray is playing at an All-Star level, but he’s not enjoying it because the team isn’t winning, McDonald adds in a separate story. Murray has averaged 25.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.2 steals over the past six games, but San Antonio is just 1-5 during that stretch. “When you lose, it wasn’t enough,” Murray said. “It means zero. I want no credit for losing basketball games.”
- Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said it was difficult to tell Willie Cauley-Stein that he was being waived, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Harrison said the team will continue supporting Cauley-Stein through the personal situation that resulted in him not playing since late November.