The 2014 NBA Draft class is one of the deepest classes in recent memory.
Players such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid are just a few of the big name players that have declared for the Draft on June 26th. It has the potential to be as good, or better, than the 2003 NBA draft class that holds claim to the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and of course LeBron James. But one player that hasn’t been seen or examined enough by basketball fans is an Australian named Dante Exum.
Dante Exum put his name on many NBA scouts maps during the FIBA Under 19 World Championships where he put up 33 points on Spain and 28 points in the third place loss to Lithuania.
Along with getting the scouts attention, these numbers put him on my radar also. With Exum not attending college in the NCAA, I had little easy access to watch this great talent play. I had to dig deeper to find out about this player. What I found was a kid with the potential to be a future NBA all-star.
As I was watching clips of Exum he reminded me of a player that took the NBA by storm in this past years rookie class. He has drawn comparisons to Michael Carter-Williams, and for good reason. Exum is a long athletic combo guard with a lethal first step that makes defenders look like garbage. MC-W averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game this year on his way to becoming this years Rookie Of The Year at the age of 22. But in my opinion, Exum is just as good right now as Carter-Williams and has the potential to be much better. Whats crazy is Dante will only be 18 years of age when he gets drafted.
Like MC-W, Exum is 6’6 but while Michaels wingspan is an impressive 6’7 for a PG, Exum’s wingspan measures a incredible 6’9.50. After watching tape on each player Exum has a quicker first step and is a better finisher around the rim. He also is a above average passer out of the post. Exum is also faster from one end of the court to the other. Exum has the great speed and loves to run the fast break, but that also gets him in trouble with turnovers. He can get out of control at times and move faster than his mind can think. But that should improve with experience and age.
As far as defense goes, Dante is a very long athletic guard that can defend against three different positions from the PG to SG to SF. This gives teams a lot to work with and gives them options to try different things. The great thing about Dante is that he strives to work on his defense and isn’t a one sided ball player.
The biggest issue with this young mans game is his shooting ability. Though he can score the ball well, most of those points come in the paint with his above average size and foot speed. Though he can shoot the ball, he is nowhere near NBA ready. His jump shot is not consistent and tends to be very flat. As I say this, Dante stated at the NBA Combine this year that he has been working tirelessly on his jump shot form and making his shot more consistent.
In this years draft we know the top three picks are almost set in stone with Embid, Wiggins, and Parker. But Exum could go in the next couple spots to Orlando or Utah, at 4 and 5, respectively.
My favorite spot for him to land, as a fan of the game, is the Orlando Magic. With last years pick Victor Oladipo looking to convert to a 2 guard like a Dwayne Wade type player, leaves the door open for Exum to come in a play the point. Both players on the court at the same time would be wild. Both players seem to have unending energy and love to run the ball. Not to mention Oladipo already being a great defender, putting Exum with him would be a nightmare for any teams back court.
As a best fit option, the Utah Jazz might be the best place. Trey Burke seems to be the Jazz PG of the future so Exum would play a 2 guard that can bring the ball down the court and be a play initiator like a Manu Ginobili. He could be the Batman to a rising robin type player in Gordon Hayward. The Jazz also have one of the best young front courts in the NBA with Enus Kanter and Derrick Favors. Adding Exum to the Jazz’s roster could make this one of the most dangerous young teams with no player in their starting five over 24.
Another spot that Dante might fall to is the Lakers at 7. With Kobe coming back next year, that could give Exum time to adjust to the NBA, as everyone knows if the ball is in the back court Kobe will have the ball most of the time. But when Kobe’s contract runs out, that could open the door to possibly getting Kevin Love and leaving the backcourt reins to Exum.
My Pick: I believe the Magic will not pass on Exum with the 4th pick but after seeing Anthony Bennett go number one last year, I feel no predicted pick is ever safe.
With all the potential and talent that Dante Exum holds, only time will tell if he will adjust to the much tougher competition of the NBA and become the breakout star that I can see. For everyone who has only heard but never seen this kid… Be on alert, he could be a star.
Its time to start Examining Exum!