We featured Melvin Ejim on Monday and talked about his chances to land with an NBA team and now, we turn our focus to one of the nation's biggest surprises of last season, DeAndre Kane.
The Man Among Boys
In his three years at Marshall, Kane put up great numbers, but never made the Thundering Herd a winner. Not only that, he continually had run-ins with teammates and officials and never really matured as a basketball player or as a young man.
The fact that Fred Hoiberg even took a chance on Kane given his past was fairly remarkable. Sure Hoiberg had nurtured successful reclamation projects for guys like Royce White, Chris Allen and Korie Lucious, but something about Kane just felt different. Was this guy really worth the risk?
Not only did the gamble pay off though, but Kane became a mentor for a youthful Cyclone team, taking a guy like Monte Morris under his wing and reaching the young star in ways that the coaching staff couldn't.
Kane turned 25 earlier this month and that will undoubtedly be his biggest hurdle when it comes to getting a chance in the NBA. Sure he's good, scouts will say, but what is his shelf life? A valid question, but what if we flip that argument on its side? Sure, Kane might not have that long-term potential that NBA GMs covet, but how many guys really became 10-year mainstays on any given team and how many point guards in the draft come in pro ready?
If you take a guy like Kane, especially in the second round, realistically, you're not hoping for much. Maybe that guy can come off the bench and help your team, but you're certainly not drafting starters in the second round or guys that you expect to change your franchise. The best you can hope for out of second round picks are guys that can come in and compete and if you're lucky help your bench. Kane can give you that.
The Scouting Report
If we're looking at Kane strictly from a basketball standpoint and ignoring all other factors, you can't tell me that Kane takes a backseat to any point guard in this draft. I'll buy the "upside" and "potential" arguments for guys like Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Shabazz Napier and Tyler Ennis, but at 6'4" and with the type of game Kane displayed last season, this is a guy that can come and make a roster right away.
Coming from an admittedly bias Cyclone fan, I realize just how bold of a statement that is. There are quality point guards in this draft aside from those previously mentioned (Russ Smith, Elfrid Payton, Deonte Burton and Jahii Carson come to mind), but does Kane's resume not stack up?
As a senior, Kane answered every critic's questions in emphatic fashion. Thought to struggle with turnovers, Kane posted the best assist-to-turnover ratio of his career (5.9 assists to only 2.9 turnovers, or 2:1). A poor outside shooter? Kane drained the long ball at a 39.8% clip. Not a winner? Kane seamlessly came in and became the heart and soul of the best Iowa State team in 13 years, being named first team all-conference to what many considered the best conference in country, taking home the Big 12 tournament MVP honors and guiding the Cyclones to a Big 12 tournament championship and a Sweet 16.
Kane posted better overall collegiate numbers than any point guard in this draft and was the only point guard in the country to average at least 17 points, six rebounds and five assists per night.
In every department that matters, Kane checks out. Size, ball handling, athleticism, shooting ability, passing, rebounding, etc. If you're thinking strictly in terms of basketball, you absolutely take a chance on a guy like Kane.
The Ideal Scenario
Kane needs to find a team that's set at point guard, but needs a change of pace guy to come off the bench, make a few plays and do so without too much drop off. He's not a quick, scat type like a Patty Mills from San Antonio or Reggie Jackson from Oklahoma City, but a guy like Greivis Vasquez from Toronto comes to mind.
Most teams carry about three point guards and potentially a fourth combo guard, meaning that there jobs to be had in this league. The NBA off season schedule allows for opportunities to impress and based on what we saw from Kane this past year, he knows how to capitalize when the spotlight is on.
What Will Happen
As much as I'd love to see Kane get taken, I think he ultimately goes undrafted. Teams have acknowledged his talent and ability and they've seen what he can do against guys like Marcus Smart and Shabazz Napier, but there just isn't a market out there for 25-year-old rookies.
Kane will get signed and he'll compete in summer ball and may even get invited to a team camp. The guy is a competitor and someone will take notice. Kane may not be coming to an NBA city near you this year, but in the next 2-3 years, he will get his shot.