The hype around Dante Exum is very real among Utah Jazz fans. Not all agree and some criticize the amount of money the front office gave Exum, but the guys who gave the young Aussie that money felt he was worth every penny and maybe more.
Exum is not sitting on his laurels after being guaranteed more money than I’ll earn in my entire life in one fell swoop. He’s been spending a lot of time in the gym and on the court. And recently, he sat down with Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports and had a conversation about, among other things, Exum’s goals moving forward.
“Not just an impact; a major impact on a team. I want to be that guy on at the end of the game, and even taking the last shot. I think that’s a goal I’ve definitely set for myself, and expect myself to make.
“Obviously I can’t control some injuries and stuff, but I’m doing everything I can now to make sure I stay on the court and stay healthy.”
When you hear these kinds of things out of some player’s mouths you squint your eyes and think “oh really?” With Exum, there is some of that especially considering the Jazz are clearly building around Donovan Mitchell as “the guy” on offense, which includes clutch ball handling and shooting. But at just 23 years old and all of his potential still available and untapped, it’s not out of the question.
It’s something that would have to be years in the future, but is it conceivable that Exum may be taking the final shot in a down-to-the-wire game in the regular season or even playoffs?
On the subject of Dante Exum, HoopsHabit got it into their head that Exum should be a trade target of a certain Phoenix Suns.
It makes perfect sense why the Suns would want Exum and the article makes those points perfectly clear. He’s a young combo guard that’s great at defense with some good offensive upside and would fit nicely next to Devin Booker, Trevor Ariza, Josh Jackson and Deandre Ayton.
The problem is that Utah is most definitely not looking to trade Exum in the near or even not-so-near future. Dennis Lindsey handed out $33 million to the kid just this summer and has high expectations for him. No way the Suns pry him away without giving up someone and/or something they don’t want to give up.
The University of Utah received a treat Thursday in the form of an inspirational talk from none other than Donovan Mitchell.
Big thank you to @spidadmitchell for coming & speaking to the team today! Stay humble & hungry! pic.twitter.com/AdYJbrVKBW— Utah Basketball (@UtahMBB) August 23, 2018
While there’s not really a way for me to know the words Mitchell used, it’s likely he talked at least a little bit about how he was overlooked by a lot of people but has now turned the heads of everyone and become a highly influential basketball player.
And, of course, after the Utes sent their public thank you, Mitchell responded.
Thank you for having me! Good luck this year https://t.co/UodGJhYVL8— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 23, 2018
Royce O’Neale was at FatCats Thursday and went bowling for at least part of his visit. One of this throws didn’t exactly live up to the same standard of quality as his basketball.
tfw you thought today was Friday pic.twitter.com/UBazOipn52— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) August 24, 2018
Along with the bowling, Royce met with some fans...
August 24, 2018
...and then Joe Ingles trolled O’Neale a bit because Joe Ingles.
You paid those kids to show up @BucketsONeale00? https://t.co/I1qISZZG6b— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) August 24, 2018
O’Neale did get in the final word though.
I told them you were coming so they started leaving— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) August 24, 2018
Georges Niang just finished a round of kids basketball clinics in and around Utah. And Thursday he took another stop to do his best Napoleon Dynamite impression.
.@GeorgesNiang20 has basketball skills, impression skills, tetherball skills. Jazz fans only like players who have great skills!— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) August 23, 2018
What’s your favorite Napoleon Dynamite quote? pic.twitter.com/cBqZoFwiSt
Nobody can tell me this team isn’t cool. Nobody.