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DeAndre Kane: The Undrafted Free Agent Who Will Prove Everyone Wrong

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DeAndre Kane: The Undrafted Free Agent Who Will Prove Everyone Wrong
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Former Iowa State standout DeAndre Kane has the size, strength and skill needed to survive at the NBA level.

That combination did not, however, make him one of the 60 names called during the 2014 draft. It wasn't that scouts had a problem with his game or its ability to translate to the next level, but rather they worried about the fact he's old enough to start getting reduced car insurance rates.

Kane turned 25 on June 10, an age the league has deemed too old for its prospects. Scouts love the mystery of draft night, and frankly, there isn't much of it surrounding the 6'4" point guard.

The book on Kane, which is already promising, should get clearer this summer. His agent told SNY that he will join the Los Angeles Lakers' summer league team, per NBA.com's Adam Zagoria:

The news was later confirmed by a league source to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.

So, what exactly have the Lakers found? Rather, what type of a player did teams bypass on draft night?

Well, Kane is big, strong and athletic:

Oh, and he's wildly productive.

Kane, who began his career at Marshall before transferring to Iowa State, put up major numbers during his lone season with the Cyclones. He averaged 17.1 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 6.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

As the stage got bigger, so did his statistics:

Power and pace are both key elements of his game. He can fight through contact, dribble around defenders or finish over the top, as DraftExpress scout Josh Riddell explained:

Kane has an excellent physical make-up, as he has a strong, developed frame while being measured at 6'4". He is quick with the ball in his hands, which helps him lead one of the fastest offensive teams when they want to run in transition. He has an adequate wingspan for a player of his size and great leaping ability to complement his strength and quickness.

Those physical gifts will be a part of his arsenal for a while. Father Time might limit his ability to add to that collection, but it's deep enough already for him to make an impact at the game's highest level.

He's shown the ability to create his own shot or find looks for his teammates. He is best suited for an uptempo system, but he has the vision to find passing windows in the half-court setting.

His production should not be ignored, although critics only care about that one number: 25. That's about middle-age for an NBA player and ancient for a prospect:

But what exactly does it mean for his pro potential?

Well, some would say it lowers his ceiling, and that's probably true. He's a lot closer to his peak than a typical rookie.

Still, he might not have shown his best hand just yet. He has ways of making himself a more powerful offensive force.

"I think I just have to continue getting better with my shot, have a consistent jump shot," Kane said, via ValleyoftheSuns.com's Kevin Zimmerman. "Just work on my ball handling a little more. My ability to be a leader."

He could stand to expand his range, although he did hit 43 of his 108 three-point attempts as a senior. His handles could be tighter, but he had no problem finding his shot when he went looking for it this past season.

He has an NBA-ready body and an NBA-ready game. No matter what the situation calls for, he's equipped to make the right play.

"When he needs to score, he will score, when he needs to make a play, he makes a play," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg told Sporting News' Sean Deveney. "When you have that versatility, you have the ability to play at the next level."

If Kane has that ability already, does it matter how much room he has left to grow? Nothing impacts the top of the board quite like a high ceiling, but aren't most teams simply looking for someone who can help?

Kane can do that from day one.

His Cyclones ran into the Kansas Jayhawks twice during the regular season, a team that featured top-shelf lottery picks Andrew Wiggins (taken No. 1 overall) and Joel Embiid (No. 3). In those two contests, against arguably the two best players in this draft class, Kane put up 21.5 points on 51.9 percent shooting.

Rather than fretting over his ceiling, why aren't teams looking at how high his basement is? How did the risk aspect get dropped from his risk-reward analysis?

He is ready for the brightest basketball lights, as Hoiberg—who played 10 seasons in the NBA and worked in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office—explained to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein:

The biggest thing about DeAndre is just his versatility. That's what you look for in the NBA. He's got positional size. He's a 6-5 point guard. He's very fast with the basketball. His game does translate to the next level and he's shot the ball extremely well, especially the last six weeks of the season. Plus he defends and competes at the defensive end of the floor.

His promise to help today is high, and it's not like he is running short on tomorrows, either.

He's 25 years old—not 45. With his strength and understanding of how to use it, he could play a long time in this league even after making a late start.

Kane showed a little of everything over his college career. Few of his peers brought such a well-rounded set of skills, which helped him excel as a scorer, rebounder, setup artist and defender.

Some have downgraded his success based on the fact he's older than most of his peers. When is that standard ever applied to current NBA players?

Once guys get to the league, their age doesn't become a discussion point until it starts attacking their physical gifts. Kane is years away from that becoming a concern. He just needs someone to take a low-risk chance on bringing him on board.

If the Lakers don't realize the quality of player they have, someone will.

Kane is going to run into a lot of the same players he's been dominating at the collegiate level. At some point, scouts will have to take notice of the guy shredding the competition. Yes, even if that player has already lived a whole quarter of a century.

Crystal balls aren't needed to appreciate Kane's pro potential. Grab a reel of his game film or look over one of his box scores, and his NBA talent becomes instantly apparent.

The basketball world might have miscalculated Kane's potential impact Thursday night, but that mistake will be corrected sooner than later. He's too talented for it not to be.

 

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