This post marks the halfway mark of the countdown for my top 10 Jazz players for next season. Here is the list so far:
Today, we have finally reached the youngest player on our team who has become quite the enigma. He's the international man of mystery with a penchant for passes, the Wizard of Auss, Professor X, our New Hope..........
#6. Dante Exum, Rookie, 19 years old, 6'6", 195 pounds, PG/SG
Picture Source: images.performgroup.com
For how hyped Dante Exum has been, he is one of the more unknown players to be drafted in the top 5 in recent memory.
He graduated high school last year back in December (Australia school year cycle is different than the U.S.'s) and continued to impressed scouts in his time at the Australia Institute of Sport.
He got on many international scouts' radars when he was chosen at 15 years old to be on the Australia national team for a short time; the youngest ever to do so for their country. In years after he continued to dominate in the U17 and U19 World Championships as well. Here are his U19 tournament stats:
Do these stats remind anybody else of a certain player (or players)? It certainly did for me, here take a gander:
Anybody know who this mystery player is??? Anyone? Well those stats belong to none other than Alec Burks (per 36 minutes stats).
That's right we may have on our hands an Alec Burks clone! Personally if we could have 2 of any of our F5, Alec Burks would be my choice. Now I realize Exum's level of competition was not NBA level, but it is cool to see what type of player he has demonstrated to be so far.
He is a speedy guard off the dribble who can drive to the rack with acrobatic finishes. He also seems to prefer finding his teammates with his passing (sometimes ill-advised passes, but he is still learning).
He has had issues with a low release on his shot as well as his shot having little to no arc, this has led to somewhat inconsistent shooting. Luckily, he is still 19, and none of these bad habits are permanently ingrained by any stretch of the imagination.
What to Expect This Season:
Exum is still fairly raw for a guard picked in the top 5. That said, he is oozing with potential and hopefully we see him make some big strides in his rookie campaign.
He's likely to struggle with shooting inconsistencies this season (Jazz better have a good shooting coach for the roster this year).
If summer league as well his role on Australia's national team is any indication, it looks as if coaches are experimenting with him as being an off-the-ball shooting guard (probably due to his height). Personally I would prefer seeing Exum being the point guard with Burks being the slashing 2-guard, but we'll see what Coach Q decides to go with this season.
Exum also doesn't appear to be a player who utilizes the midrange yet, he'll either take a shot from outside, drive to the basket, or look for who to feed the ball to.
With Exum's lack of college experience, I also expect Exum to be extra susceptible to hitting the infamous rookie wall.
With all of those pointed out, I think Exum has one of the best chances of being the Jazz future star, hopefully ending up somewhere between Deron Williams and John Stockton on the historical Jazz point guards totem pole. Hopefully his potential pans out, but we are likely to only see mere flashes of brilliance rather than consistent jawdropping plays from Exum this year. I say this not as a slight to Exum, but in line with what history shows us to happen to guards in their rookie season, even the ones who are on track towards future stardom.
Here is my official prediction for Dante Exum's rookie year stats:
I see Exum receiving 6th man minutes this year, and I see him producing accordingly, being a fringe double digit scorer with a few assists per game for good measure. His shooting won't blow anyone away this year, but his sheer quickness and acrobatic moves around the basket will make Jazz fans drool at times thinking about how special of a player Exum is going to develop into.
Picture Source: img.deseretnews.com
Dante Exum is one of biggest unknowns on our roster going into this season. Will he be able to produce at a level to justify his hype and draft position in his rookie season? Tough to predict for sure, but his relatively good chances of breaking through to be a star a couple seasons down the road is what made the Jazz deem it justifiable to put their eggs into the Aussie basket.
Until we see a few more games from the Jazz, I think a fair guess for how good Dante will happen to be just below the rest of our BBHFK lineup aka the F5.
I think Exum will already stand out among the rest of the players on this roster, and at the minimum be the 6th man on this team, perhaps even taking over a starting position before season's end.
The future is bright for the Jazz, and Exum is a major reason for this. Will Exum be our Point Guard or Shooting Guard of the Future?
Chances of him being with the team in the 2015-2016 season: