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The Downbeat: Big Year for Dante Exum?

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NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I hope you all had a great day yesterday, and welcome back for your Tuesday Downbeat!

Dante Exum is a curious case. On one hand, he’s still young, shows flashes of brilliant potential, and hasn’t gotten a ton of opportunity yet. On the other hand, he’s going into his 3rd season and hasn’t truly shown he was worth a top 5 pick.

Dan Clayton dove deep into the Exum discussion and his very thorough piece can be found here. Here’s a couple excerpts:

Three years ago, Exum was considered one of a few 2014 draftees who had a chance at reaching star level. Andrew Wiggins has played almost 9,000 minutes already, putting up nice numbers while battling low efficiency. Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid have looked like solid bets when they’ve been healthy. And Exum… remains a mystery...

The pessimist would point out that if you mine for players who had this bumpy a start to their careers and still reached All-Star status, you won’t find a huge list. But that’s where we keep coming back to those, for lack of a better term, excuses. Reasons to believe we haven’t seen him scratch the surface yet...

I haven’t given up on Dante Exum, but I’m no where near as excited as I used to be. That article brings up some great points, as well as some renewed optimism. Give it a read and tell me if you agree or disagree.

FanRag Sports have continued their offseason ranking of the top 100 NBA players. As a reminder, Derrick Favors came in at 88, Rodney Hood at 86, and Joe Ingles at 84. Ricky Rubio is the latest to make the list. The new point guard was ranked a respectable 58. For comparison, Andrew Wiggins is 59 and Nicolas Batum is 57.

Their complete writeup and thoughts on Rubio can be found here.

With guys like Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles and the newly signed Jonas Jerebko who can hit from deep, and rim runners like Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, Rubio should rack up a ton of assists. If he gets to double-digit numbers there, he could crack the top 50.

As you’ve already picked up on, Rubio’s offense isn’t really about his shooting so much as his passing. To put that distinction into perspective, when he used the play with a shot, he averaged just .869 points per possession, according to SynergySportsTech.com, which ranked in the 28th percentile.

Yes, his shooting sucks. And that’s going to be a limitation.

When you include his points-plus-assists, though, he averaged 1.426 points per possession, which was in the 98th percentile. So yeah, that’s a pretty massive distinction.

On defense, it’s a similar thing; it’s keyed by Rubio’s brain. He excels on that end of the court. He ranked in the 68th percentile at Synergy overall and was in the top half of every play type with the exception of spot up. And he ranked 11th among point guard in Defensive Real-Plus Minus. That, in spite of being on a team that ranked 26th in defensive rating.

It’s very difficult for a point guard to put up those kinds of numbers on a really bad team. Imagine what he’ll do on a really good one.

Man can the season start already! I don’t know about you, but I am super excited to see this guy in Jazz uniform.

It’s time for the FanPosts of the week!

* Checks Fanposts *

That’s alright everyone, I’ll be back again next week!

Instead I’ll take this spot to wish everyone a belated Happy Labor Day. I hope you had the day off and could spend it doing the things you enjoy more than work. Also, here’s a few quick “Labor Day” wishes of mine:

I hope Rudy Gobert has labored over the summer to improve his 10-15 foot jumper as well as added moves to his post game. I hope Derrick Favors has worked hard and his body is ready for a bounce back year. My wish for Ricky Rubio is to have labored hard enough to make his end-of-season play from last year who he actually is as a player. I dream of Donovan Mitchell having put in the work and being ready to contribute from day 1. I could keep going but I’ll stop here.

Do you have any “Labor Day” wishes?

For you NBA 2k’ers out there, the full list of Jazz player ratings was tracked down.

They are probably all underrated. Now that we got that out of the way, who would you say is MOST underrated?

Now for some good news and an update on a favorite Jazz guard.

JP Gibson continues to fight the good fight and be an inspiration to all of us. And fortunately for him and his family he is responding well to his treatment. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and send them good vibes. And if you haven’t already, sign up for the weight loss challenge and fundraiser right HERE.

If raising money for a good cause and losing weight isn’t enough motivation, remember that Jazz jerseys are on the line as well!